The Builder Magazine
March 1918 - Volume IV - Number 3
FREEMASONS IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
BY BRO. CHARLES S. LOBINGIER, 33d HON., DEPUTY FOR CHINA
BROTHER J.E. Morcombe in a series of scholarly papers once declared (1) that after
"a very serious course of historical reading extending through several months and
covering (the?) period of the last three centuries" he was regretfully forced" to reject
"as mainly mythical the alleged participation of American Masonic Lodges, as such,
in affairs of the Revolution."
A statement like this, coming from such a diligent and distinguished Masonic student,
deserves consideration and analysis. If correct it destroys many cherished beliefs; if
incorrect it ought, injustice to the craft, past and present, to be so declared.
My own investigations have led me to a somewhat different conclusion. And while I
am not prepared to say that the direct "participation of American Lodges" in our
struggle for nationality was extensive, still I cannot but feel that their indirect
assistance was great and their actual participation at certain stages determining. I will,
therefore, state the results of my survey (2) of this field in language employed when it
was first completed and, that my readers may themselves be enabled to judge of the
soundness of my conclusions, I will, for each important statement, cite my authority.
At the outbreak of the Revolution Masonic lodges in America were few and feeble.
The oldest of them had existed less than half a century (3) and the membership was
exceedingly small (4). But what was lacking in members was more than supplied in
quality. The Freemasons of that period included the flower of colonial citizenship and
their very fewness was a source of strength. In a small lodge all could know and trust
each other; all felt the need of absolute secrecy in deliberation— of solidarity in action.
Hence it is not strange that some of these colonial lodges became the centers of
revolutionary propaganda (5).
ST. ANDREW'S LODGE
Foremost among these was the Lodge of St. Andrew at Boston. Founded in 1756 and
chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1760, it began its career independent of
English influence and just in time to share in the opening scenes of the war for
independence. Joseph Warren was its Master, Paul Revere one of its early initiates
and secretaries and later its Master, and on its rolls were the names of John Hancock,
and James Otis and many others who are now recognized as the leading characters of
that eventful epoch. And almost every important movement in the patriotic cause in
Boston, preceding and precipitating the Revolution, may be traced back directly or
indirectly to St. Andrew's Lodge.
The famous "Sons of Liberty," organized in 1765 to resist the enforcement of the
Stamp Act, were but an offshoot of this Lodge, and was also the "North End Caucus"
(6) to which was committed the execution of some of the most daring plans of the
patriots. Both of these organizations met at the Green Dragon Tavern which was
owned and occupied by St. Andrew's Lodge, and the members of the latter were
leaders in the former. It was at this tavern that the historic Boston Tea Party was
planned by Warren, Revere and other members of St. Andrew's (7). The records of the
lodge disclose that on the evening after the tea-laden ships arrived in Boston Harbor
there was an adjournment on account of small attendance and the secretary adds the
significant note that "consignees of tea took the brethren's time." The minutes of
December 16, 1773, the date of the tea party, show that the lodge was again adjourned
until the next evening (8). Its members were among that band of enthusiasts who had
boarded the ships and were rapidly heaving the obnoxious tea into the waters of
In the Stirling days which followed it was Paul Revere of St. Andrew's Lodge who
earned the title of "The Patriotic Mercury" or "The Messenger of the Revolution."
Thousands of miles he rode on horseback, spreading the news of the destruction of the
tea, bearing despatches to other colonies, to New York and Philadelphia, to Provincial
and Continental Congresses (9). And on that memorable night before the battle of
Lexington it was by order of the Master of St. Andrew's, Joseph Warren, that Bro.
Paul Revere set out upon his famous ride to Concord to warn his countrymen of the
foe's approach— a ride which has been immortalized by the magic pen of Longfellow
who tells us that
"Through all our history to the last In the hour of darkness and peril and need The
people will waken and listen to hear The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed And the
midnight message of Paul Revere."
And when at last the storm, which for years had been gathering, burst in all its fury, it
was St. Andrew's Lodge which furnished the first great martyr to American liberty.
Joseph Warren, Major General in the Continental Army, fell at Bunker Hill; and thus
the lodge which had almost initiated the war gave up its Master in the battle which
determined forever the supremacy of the American arms in Massachusetts. No other
organization, civic or military, of its numbers, can be compared to St. Andrew's Lodge
in the extent of its contributions to the American cause. The title "Cradle of Liberty,"
which has been applied to Faneuil Hall, rightfully belongs to the Green Dragon
Tavern where gathered that little band of Masons who precipitated the American
THE OTHER PATRIOTIC LODGES
But there were other lodges which rendered valuable services in the war for
independence. St. John's Provincial Grand Lodge at Boston, the older rival of St.
Andrew's, furnished, in the person of its Deputy Grand Master Ridley, the engineer
who planned the American fortifications at Bunker Hill (10). St. George's Lodge at
Schnectady, N. Y., where many Revolutionary officers were made Masons, honored
itself and the order by appropriating lodge funds for the support of the families of its
members who had been taken prisoners (11).
The intimate connection between Masonry and the patriotic movements is also shown
by the growth of the order at this time. Master's Lodge alone, at Albany, received
eighty-three new members during the historic year 1776 (12).
But the most important service, after the Revolution was fairly launched, was
rendered by the lodges formed in the Continental Army. There were ten of these (13),
they were scattered among the camps from Massachusetts to North Carolina, and their
growth was fostered and encouraged by the Commander-in-Chief. Washington
himself attended their communications frequently— now as a visitor, meeting soldier
brethren on the level (14) and now as Master sitting in the Oriental chair and bringing
a candidate to Masonic light (15). It was in one of these lodges— American Union at
Morristown, N. J.— that Lafayette is believed to have received his degrees (16). Lodge
meetings were sometimes held in officers' tents (17) and sometimes, as in the case of
the army encamped on the Hudson, in a permanent building specially erected for that
purpose (18). And so active were these military Masons that a movement was started
and several conventions held at Morristown with a view of establishing an American
General Grand Lodge and making Washington Grand Master of the United States
It is difficult to overestimate the strategic value of these army lodges. In the first place
they promoted fellowship and solidarity in the ranks and sympathy between officers
and men. In an army where the humblest private might sit in lodge on a level with the
Commander-in-Chief there arose a spirit of self-sacrifice, mutual helpfulness and
devotion— an esprit du corps— which no hireling soldiery could have. Where the
distinctions or rank were lost in the ties of brotherhood, even the sufferings of that
terrible winter at Valley Forge might be made endurable.
Again, the prevalence of Masonry in the patriotic army insured secrecy in the plans of
campaign and fidelity in their execution. Councils of war it is said, were frequently
held in the lodge room where their deliberations were under the double seal of
Masonry and patriotism. Generals could entrust their dispatches to couriers who were
brother Masons and feel certain that nothing would be divulged. Thus our eighteenth
century brethren formed the strong arm of the Continental service. It is claimed that
nearly every American general was a Mason (20); certainly the leading ones were.
Even the allies, Lafayette, the Frenchman, and Steuben (21) and Dekalb, the Germans,
were members of the order. John Paul Jones, the founder of our navy, is known to
have petitioned St. Bernard's Lodge at Kirkcudbright, Scotland, and probably was a
member of it (22). Had the Freemasons been withdrawn from the Continental forces
the Revolution must have been a dismal failure.
OUR BRETHREN OF THE OPPOSING FORCES
But we must never forget that not all Freemasons of the Revolution were enrolled in
the patriotic ranks— that they were numerous in the opposing army as well. Peter
Ross, the historian of the Grand Lodge of New York, records as operating during the
war in that state more than thirty British military lodges (22a). And to the fact that
Masons were actively engaged on both sides is due some of the most gratifying
incidents of the war. It has been said that the fairest flowers are those that bloom over
the wall of party; but how much more must be said of those that bloom amid the strife
Early in the war an event occurred that proved the strength of the Masonic tie. At the
battle of the Cedars near Montreal, Col. John McKinstry, a Freemason, was captured
by a band of Indians, allies of the British, whose chief was the celebrated Joseph
Brand, also a Mason. In accordance with savage custom the prisoner was bound to a
stake, fagots were piled around him, and the torch was about to be applied, when he
gave to Chief Brand the sign which Masons know the world around— the grand hailing
sign of distress. Indian though he was, the chief recognized the sign and ordered the
torture to cease, and he and his captive became fast friends for the rest of their lives
Again, in 1779, Joseph Burnam, a Mason who was held by the British as a prisoner of
war in New York City, escaped and sought shelter in the Green Bay Tree Tavern, kept
by another Mason named Hopkins. This tavern served as a meeting place for St.
John's Lodge, which was composed mostly of British officers. The fugitive was
secreted in the tavern garret which was just above the lodge room, and while he was
reclining at night on the planks which formed the garret floor these gave way and
precipitated the unfortunate guest into the center of the lodge in the very midst of its
deliberations. The landlord, who was also the Tiler, was called upon for an
explanation, and he, like a good Mason, made a clean breast of the whole affair.
Whereupon the members of the lodge took up a contribution for the fugitive brother
and, though his enemy in war, assisted him to reach the American lines across the
Hudson River (24).
Another instance of Masonic magnanimity occurred when the brave Baron DeKalb,
our German ally, was slain at the battle of Camden in 1780. Although he had crossed
the Atlantic to take part in a quarrel that was not his, against the British, he was buried
by them with both Masonic and military honors (25).
But perhaps the most significant illustration of the effect of Masonry on the war was
the action taken by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It is well known that the war was
unpopular in many parts of Great Britain; but some of the subordinate Scottish
Lodges, urged perhaps by government officials, had offered bounties for recruits to
the army. When the Grand Lodge met it condemned this practice in unmistakable
terms and in its instructions declared: "Masonry is an order of peace and it looks on
all mankind to be at peace or at war with each other as subjects of contending
RECIPROCITY IN THE AMERICAN ARMY
These are illustrations which, thanks to Masonic teaching, reveal the foe in a better
light than some are wont to think of him. Let us notice some expressions of the same
spirit on the American side.
At the battle of Princeton, 1776, Captain William Leslie, a Mason and son of the Earl
of Leven, of the British Army, received a severe wound. He was taken in charge by
Dr. Benjamin Rush, the celebrated surgeon who was then on Gen. Washington's staff,
but was found to be "past all surgery." He was also buried with Masonic and military
honors and this fact was announced by Col. Fitzgerald, Gen. Washington's aide, who
entered the British Camp for that puipose under a flag of truce. Later Dr. Rush erected
a monument, which may still be seen, at Brothel Leslie's grave "as a mark of esteem
for his worth and respect for his noble family (27)."
Lodge Unity was a military lodge in the 17th foot of the British army. In 1779, while
the regiment was engaged in a skirmish, the constitution and jewels of the lodge were
lost, but were returned to it by Col. Parsons of the American Union Lodge in the
opposing army, with a letter reciting that:
"As Masons we are disarmed of that resentment which stimulates to undistinguished
desolation; and however our political sentiments may impel us in the public dispute,
we are still brethren, and (our professional duty apart) ought to promote the happiness
and advance the weal of each other." (25)
An even more striking instance occurred when the Masonic chest of the 46th British
infantry was captured by the Americans. Upon hearing of it, Gen. Washington ordered
the chest and other articles of value returned to the owners accompanied by a guard of
honor (29). The London Freemason's Magazine, commenting on the circumstances,
from an English standpoint, says:
"The surprise, the feelings of both officers and men may be imagined when they
perceived the flag of truce that announced this elegant compliment from their noble
opponent but still more noble brother. The guard of honor, their flutes playing a
sacred march, the chest containing the constitution and implements of the craft borne
aloft like another Ark of the Covenant, equally by Englishmen and Americans, who,
lately engaged in the strife of war, now marched through the enfiladed ranks of the
gallant regiment, that, with presented arms and colors, hailed the glorious act by
cheers which the sentiment rendered sacred as the hallelujahs of an angel's song."
Thus, above the storm and stress of armed strife, the soothing spirit of Masonic
fellowship brooded like a bird of calm. If Masons precipitated and promoted the
struggle they likewise mitigated its horrors and made possible the disclosure of the
noblest traits in both American and Briton. It is the proudest heritage of Revolutionary
Masons on both sides that the fraternal tie was one which not even the shock of arms
could sever, and that amid the fiercest passions engendered by war they never quite
forgot they were brethren. The record of this forms the fairest, brightest page in the
history of the Revolution.
IN THE COUNCILS OF STATE
When we turn from scenes of carnage to the more peaceful haunts of diplomat and
statesman, during the Revolution, we find Freemasons there active and influential. It
is a notable fact that the earliest suggestion of a Federal Union of the American
colonies came from the first American Grand Master, Daniel Coxe, who in 1730
received a deputation as Provincial Grand Master, made this suggestion in a work
published as early as 1716, (30) and may therefore properly be called the first
Federalist. It was this idea, adopted later and advocated by another eminent Mason
and Provincial Grand Master, Benjamin Franklin, that grew into the union established
by the constitution framed two generations later. The Declaration of Independence, it
has been declared, (31) was the work of a Mason and many of the signers of that
instrument are believed to have been members of our order (32). Freemasons were
foremost in the Philadelphia Convention that framed the Federal Constitution and thus
completed the work of the war. Besides Washington, the President, and Franklin, the
Nestor, of that body, Hamilton, the genius of the Convention, was a Mason (33).
AT THE COURTS OF EUROPE
But after all it may be that Masonry's most effective service to the American cause
was rendered not at home but abroad. We know that the aid of France was a powerful,
if not indispensable factor in the outcome of the war and that the sympathy of other
Continental powers was advantageous. But why should these haughty monarchists of
Europe look with favor upon the struggling republic of the New World ? Why did
they not turn the same deaf ear as recently to the Boer envoys? There seems to have
been some mysterious influence which changed their once hostile attitude into one of
friendship; and recent investigations have led to the belief that this influence was the
Masonic order (34).
When Franklin, the Freemason, went to Paris to plead the American cause at the court
of St. Germain, he naturally sought out the members of the fraternity. At the "Lodge
of the Nine Muses," where he often attended, he met the intellect and statesmanship of
the gay French capital, and it is believed that partly, at least, through these influences
he was enabled to reach the ear of Louis XVI, to secure for us the French fleet and
army, and thus to turn the tide of the war in favor of the American cause at its darkest
hour. And thus the record of Masonic service in the Revolution is complete. There
was no part of it in which Masons did not share and no important phase which would
probably have succeeded but for them.
But we fail to grasp the full significance of this noble record if we see in it only a
source of pride and gratification. It is all this but much more; for every page imposes
duty, obligation, responsibility. If it be true, as the record seems to teach, that
American nationality was largely brought about by Masons, and that to this end the
best energies of the craft were devoted in the trying times of the Revolution; if our
predecessors gave "their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor" to start the
republic on its glorious career, surely we can best prove true to the traditions of
American Masonry by continuing the work which they began. Our advantages, if not
our opportunities, are greater than theirs. The feeble fraternity of that day has become
a powerful order now— from a few thousands it has grown to nearly two millions,
carefully selected from the ranks of American citizenship. Its representatives are
found in every official station (35) from Presidents (36) down. What possibilities for
good government and high political ideals do these facts express; what a mighty
leverage for civic progress and reform ! And this is the highest lesson taught us as a
craft by Freemasons of the American Revolution: To place patriotism above
partisanship, to preserve and extend the free institutions of the republic, to maintain
the honor and dignity of the nation at home and abroad, and thus to realize the lofty
ideals of our eighteenth century brethren, bequeathing them as a priceless heritage to
generations yet unborn.
(1) Record of Intolerance, 21 Am. Tyler- Key stone 549. See a reply in Vol. 22 of the
same periodical, page 113.
(2) Undertaken while preparing an address as Grand Orator before the Grand Lodge
(3) The earliest American Lodge is claimed to have been St. John's at Philadelphia,
formed about 1730. See Gould, History of Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 233, et seq.
(4) Bro. Ross, historian of the Grand Lodge, concludes (N. Y. Grand Lodge Proc.
1900) that there were not more than 250 members of New York Lodges during the
(5) There seems every reason to admit what has been so often claimed by our
historians, that the Masonic Lodges scattered throughout the country were as beacon
lights of liberty, and that within our tiled doors the Revolution was fostered and
strengthened." -- Ross, Historian of Grand Lodge, N. Y. Proceedings (1900), p. 315.
(6) Goss, Life of Paul Revere, (1891), pp. 117, 121-2.
(7) Centennial Memorial of the Lodge of St. Andrew, and the Massachusetts Grand
(8) Goss, Life of Paul Revere, (1891), pp. 121-2; Gould, History of Freemasonry, Vol.
IV. p. 347.
(9) Id. p. 1 18 et seq.
(10) Gould, History of Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 220.
(11) Ross, Historian of Grand Lodge, N. Y. Proceedings (1900) p. 313.
(12) Id. p. 315.
(13) Gould, History of Freemasonry, Vol. IV, pp. 222, 227.
(14) Ross, Historian of Grand Lodge, N. Y. Proc. (1900) pp. 298, 305; Hayden,
Washington and His Masonic Compeers; Capt. G. P. Brown in American Tyler, Dec.
15, 1900; Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, p. 869.
(15) Ross, Historian of Grand Lodge, N. Y. Proc. (1900) p. 308.
(16) Gould, History of Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 224.
(17) Id.; Ross, Historian Grand Lodge, N. Y. Proc. (1900) p. 308.
(18) Capt. G. P. Brown in American Tyler. Dec. 15, 1900, says: "American Union
Lodge was the banner lodge of the Continental Army. It had a very large membership,
including several of Washington's foremost generals. In 1782, while the patriot host
was encamped on the banks of the Hudson the attendance of that renowned lodge
became so large that it was necessary to erect a building for its regular meetings. At a
stated assembly of the lodge the question arose. General Washington was among the
large number of visitors present and spoke at some length on the erection of a suitable
building for Masonic purposes. And it was but a few days later when the noble-
hearted commander-in-chief and eminent Freemason ordered the erection of a wooden
structure. It was nearly sixty feet long and of the old style, one-story plan. It formed a
complete oblong square. It had but one door, which was on the west end; its windows
were fairly good size, square and over six feet from the ground, thus to keep off the
cowan and eavesdropper which were so plenty in the Continental army at that time.* *
* One of the many noted Masonic celebrations held within those sacred walls was the
festival of Saint John the Baptist, June 24, A. L. 5782."
(19) Gould, Vol. IV, pp. 224-5; Ross, pp. 304-5; Mackey, Encyclopedia of
Freemasonry, p. 870.
(20) Gould, Vol. IV, p. 224. G. P. Brown, in the article last above quoted, gives the
following list of those who participated in the celebrations there mentioned: "Generals
Washington, Gist, Putnam, Hamilton, Jackson, Armstrong, Parsons, Heath,
Thompson, Patterson, Clinton, Dayton, Greaton, Brooks, Huntington; Colonels Cilley,
Gridley, Burbeck, Nixon, Bradford, Clarke, Parke, Gray, Johnston, Sherman; Captains
Marshall, Brown, Hait, Coit, Redfield, Lacey, Chapman, Ten Eyck; Lieutenants
Heart, Hosmor, Hobart, Buxton, Russell, Barker, Sherman, Curtis, Heath, Bush,
Spear, Cleveland, Palmer and a host of petty officers and privates. General John Stark,
the hero of Bennington, was a Mason, initiated, according to Brown, in St. John's
Lodge, No. 1, Portsmouth, N. H.; according to Ross, in Master's Lodge, Albany, N. Y.
(21) Baron Steuben was a member of Trinity and an honorary member of Holland
Lodge, both of New York. See N. Y. Grand Lodge Proc. (1900), p. 309.
(22) See American Tyler, Vol. 15, p. 478
(22a) See also Sachse, Old Masonic Lodges of Pennsylvania, 1730-1800, especially
the chapter on Unity Lodge No. 18, A. Y. M., abstracted in the New Age, XXIV, 539.
(23) Stone, Life of Brant, (1838), Vol. I, pp. 18-33; Vol. II, p. 156; Gould, History of
Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 221; Ross, N.Y. Grand Lodge Proc. (1900), 307.
(24) Ross, N. Y. Grand Lodge Proc. (1900), 302, giving an extract from the printed
history of St. John's Lodge; Mitchell, History of Freemasonry (1817), p. 501.
(25) Gould, History of Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 222.
(26) Lyon, History of the Lodge of Edinburgh, p. 83; Mackey, Encyclopedia of
Freemasonry, p. 868.
(27) Sachse, Old Masonic Lodges of Pennsylvania, abstracted in New Age, XXIV,
(28) Ross, 2, 98, 99. The letter is reprinted in the New Age (XXIV, 639), from
Sachse, Old Masonic Lodges of Pennsylvania. This Lodge Unity appears to have
received successive warrants from the Grand Lodges of Ireland, Scotland and
(29) Ross, 299, 300.
(30) The work was entitled "A Description of the English Province of Carolina." See
Gould, History of Freemasonry, Vol. IV, pp. 231-2; Ross, N. Y. Grand Lodge Proc.
(1900), pp. 295-6.
(31) Capt. G. P. Brown, of Boston, in a private letter, furnished the information on
which this statement is based
(32) P.G.M. Baird in THE BUILDER (II, 351), mentions twenty-three. Cf. Gould,
History of Freemasonry, Vol. IV, p. 220; N. Y. Grand Lodge Proc. (1900) p. 81; John
Carson Smith in American Tyler- Keystone, XXIII, 300.
(33) Ross, N. Y. Grand Lodge Proc. (1900), 305
(34) The late Gen. John Carson Smith, of Illinois, to whom I am indebted for favors,
conducted these investigations.
(35) In a recent enumeration of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Legislatures
more than one-third of the members were found to be Masons; in one branch the
proportion was one-half. 1 5 Annals of American Academy 8 1 .
(36) P.G.M. Baird in THE BUILDER (II, 351), presents a list of seventeen Presidents
who were Masons, and mentions another (Grant) who may have taken the E. A.
degree. This is more than two-thirds of the whole number.
GOING UP IN MASONRY
BY BRO. DENMAN S. WAGSTAFF, CALIFORNIA
When "Mother" seems so very old and gray, when she can not exactly keep up with
your "growing" disposition and the exuberance of animal spirit now so fair an average
of your condition, you really turn your back upon her! You seem to prefer faster
company! You have about forsaken the place whence you came and in a haze of
expectation joined what to a student of Masonry would resemble an "aristocracy of
ignorance." You have come to the "parting of the ways" between what the "nickle-
plated" world designates "higher and lower" Masonry ! It seems an awful task now to
contemplate the retention of the necessary knowledge to enable you to pass the Tyler
at some "strange" Lodge. With Charity it may be said that it is hard, for you never
knew much about it and should not be upbraided for something you are not altogether
to blame for. It is this lack of knowing which is the cause of complaint and the fact
that drives you to something easier— something that does not require knowledge to
maintain a standing in, as long as the dues are paid. Yet individuals are not altogether
to blame. The habit of "hurry" we acquire in business and social life urges us on.
Many of us go into business almost as soon as we are able to read a market report.
Other "frills" in the educational line are deemed unnecessary. We get to do "business"
with everything. Our souls are risked ofttimes before we really know where we could
find another, were such a thing suddenly lost to an opponent on the mart of trade. If
we could but pause when we find ourselves going too fast! If we could but stoop to
commune with an innermost self at such a moment! There are many of us who have
not continued such practice through life. We have forgotten so much as "Blue Lodge
practice" has by degrees faded farther and farther from the limit of memory.
The Masonry of many men is all encompassed by the somewhat obscure significance
of a "prominently" cherished "watch-charm," constantly carried as an aid to a less
precious memory. I do not, by this means of public censuring, even expect to lure men
into the practice of the science of faithfulness in daily life or avowed purpose, neither
do I expect them to altogether forsake "Mammon." I can hardly stem the tide which
seems to force men to a love of display— of even Masonry. I can not force them to
attend their Lodges long enough to give them an understanding of all the symbolism
of the ancient Craft. If these lagging souls could but feel the "pull" of the cabletow
about them, as it binds each willing heart with a living touch, to the real practise of
Faith, Hope and sweet Charity! I do not, in a day, expect to lead men from their
world-idols. To cure them of the indolence that goes with borrowed thought and
Yet I have hope, for there are other days dawning and still other men, who believe in
the "Blue Lodge" as a grand preparatory school, where Masonry can be studied, both
to her advantage and with every recurring benefit to the student. Aye, the School of
Applied Science where successful methods may be grafted into one's system by
simple contact with honest practitioners, who if they fail today, will be ever patient in
the trying, until Faith brings victory.
This practice, in the fundaments of Masonry, will give renewed strength and an
increase of intelligence, and will assist materially in the unfolding of the beauties of
so-called higher degrees, both of Masonry and daily life, (and they should be one,)
until new lanes of travel are opened toward the Light, impelling the splendid
glorification of the visible body and soul of a fraternity which to date has given
everything to her children, expecting only that which she gets in the "siftings" as the
Mill grinds and grinds!
INTERNATIONALISM AND FREEMASONRY
BY BRO. P. E. KELLETT, GRAND MASTER, MANITOBA
LET us now briefly consider the great point of cleavage between Anglo-Saxon
Masonry and the Masonry of the Grand Orient of France. This cleavage is based
largely on the suspicion, if not on the definite charge that French Masonry is atheistic
in its practices or in its tendencies.
The Grand Orient of France was organized in Paris in 1736. Its constitution was of the
model of Anderson's original Constitution 1723. The Grand Orient was recognized as
legitimate Masonry by the Grand Lodge of England, and in fact by all legitimate
Masons throughout the world. At that time in all Masonic Constitutions there was an
absolute absence of dogma concerning in which all men agree; that is to be good men
and true, men of God and religion, and Masons were bound only to that religion in
which all men agree; that is to be good men and true, men of honor and honesty. The
aim of the fraternity was purely humanitarian, its principles broad enough for men of
every diverse opinion. The desire was simply to unite them, whatever their private
religious beliefs, in uplift work for themselves and for humanity.
Changes came first in England. About the middle of the eighteenth century, the so-
called Landmarks regarding a declaration of belief in the G. A. of the U. and the
placing of the Bible on the Altar, were adopted. Following this, for the greater part of
a century the French Constitution adhered strictly to the original plan of the fraternity
and did not contain that formula which has since, in some places, come to be regarded
as essential. During this time neither the Grand Lodge of England nor any other
recognized Grand Lodge took any exception to this notable omission. French Masons
were considered neither "Godless" nor "Atheistic." As time went on, the French
Constitution was changed to conform to that of the Grand Lodge of England. One
writer has said this was co-incident with a closer political approach of the two nations,
England and France. The constitution of the Grand Orient of France followed the
English copy until shortly after the Franco Prussian war, when they reverted back to
what it had been originally. Co-incident with this change, history records political
estrangement between France and England which continued until recent years. When
France reverted back to her original constitution, the Grand Lodge of England
immediately afterwards severed relations with France, and generally speaking,
Masonry of English speaking countries followed suit, claiming that the change made
by the Grand Orient of France was Atheistic in tendency.
Can French Masonry be said to be atheistical ? Atheism is the doctrine that there is no
God. It is no longer considered reasonable for anyone to dogmatically assert that there
is no God, and it is a question if such a being as an atheist exists today.
There is no unbelief.
Whoever plants a seed beneath the sod,
And waits to see it push away the clod,
He trusts in God.
Whoever says, when clouds are in the sky,
"Be patient, heart; light breaketh by-and-by,"
Trusts the Most High
Whoever sees, 'neath winter's fields of snow,
The silent harvest of the future grow,
God's power must know.
Whoever lies down on his couch to sleep,
Content to lock each sense in slumber deep,
Knows God will keep.
Whoever says, "Tomorrow," "The Unknown,"
"The Future," trusts the Power alone
He dares disown.
The heart that looks on when the eyelids close,
And dares to live when life has only woes,
God's comfort knows
There is no unbelief;
And day by day, and night unconsciously,
The heart lives by that faith the lips deny—
God knoweth why!
To be atheistic, French Masonry would need to have made the dogmatic assertion,
"There is no God." This it has never done. It neither affirms nor denies anything
relative to God. To suppose that French Masons deny the existence of God is to totally
misunderstand them. They are as much averse to a dogmatic assertion of that kind as
to one of the opposite kind. They are simply against a dogmatic assertion of any kind,
as Masons, believing that Masonry is antidogmatic. Many, and possibly all, of their
members would doubtless declare a belief in God at the proper time; but not as
Masons in a Masonic Lodge.
The French Masons found their attitude on the first edition of the Constitution, which
obliges Masons only to that religion in which all men agree; that is, to be good and
true, or men of honour and honesty.
Let us briefly examine what ground there is for their stand, and see whether or not we
are justified in condemning it. For this purpose I want to direct your attention to:
ANDERSON’S CONSTITUTION, 1723
Concerning God and Religion.
A Mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the Moral Law, and if he rightly understands
the Art he will never be a stupid atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in
ancient times Masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that
country, or nation, whatever it was, yet it is now thought more expedient only to
oblige them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their peculiar opinions to
themselves; that is to be good men and true men of Honour and Honesty by whatever
Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes
the centre of union and the means of conciliating true friendship among persons that
must have remained at a perpetual distance.
OUR OWN CONSTITUTION Concerning God and Religion.
A Mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the Moral Law, and if he rightly understands
the Art he will never be a stupid atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. He, of all men,
should best understand that God seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the
outward appearance, but God looketh to the heart! A Mason is therefore particularly
bound never to act against the dictates of his conscience. Let a man's religion or mode
of worship be what it may, he is not excluded from the Order, provided he believe in
the Architect of Heaven and Earth, and practice the sacred duties of Morality. Masons
unite with the virtuous of every persuasion, in the firm and pleasing bond of fraternal
love; they are taught to view the errors of mankind with compassion, and to strive by
the purity of their own conduct to demonstrate the superior excellence of the faith they
may profess. Thus Masonry is the centre of union between good men and true, and the
happy means of conciliating friendship amongst those who must otherwise have
remained at a perpetual distance.
CONSTITUTION OF GRAND ORIENT OF FRANCE
Freemasonry, an essentially philanthropical and progressive institution, has for its
object the pursuit of truth, the study of morality, and the practice of solidarity; its
efforts are directed to the material and moral improvement and the intellectual and
social advancement of humanity. It has for its principles, mutual tolerance, respect for
others and for one's self, and absolute liberty of conscience. Considering metaphysical
conceptions as belonging exclusively to the individual judgment of its members, it
refuses to accept any dogmatic affirmation. Its motto is: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
As to whether the Grand Orient of France has departed farther from the spirit and the
letter of Anderson's original Constitution than we have is not open to much
controversy. The change they made in 1877 rather reverted back to it than went
farther away from it. To show the real misunderstanding that has occurred with regard
to their position let me quote from the minutes of their General Conventions when the
change was made. We can then understand what the real meaning of their action was.
At the French Masonic Convention of 1876, on the proposal of a Lodge in the
department of the Rhone, a Committee was appointed to consider the question of
suppressing the second paragraph of the first article of the Constitution, concerning
God and Religion. The Committee recommended that the proposition be postponed,
and in recommending this the reporter of the Committee, Bro. Maricault, made the
"Your Commission has recognized that bad faith alone could interpret the suppression
demanded as a denial of the existence of God and the immortality of-the soul; human
solidarity and freedom of conscience, which would be henceforth the exclusive basis
of Freemasonry, imply quite as strongly belief in God and in an immortal soul as they
do materialism, positivism, or any other philosophic doctrine."
Postponement met with opposition. Bro. Andre Roussell, in advocating immediate
action, among other statements made the following:
"I am anxious to recognize with my brother, the reporter of the Commission, that
Freemasonry is neither deistic, atheistic, or even positivist. In so far as it is an
institution affirming and practicing human solidarity, it is a stranger to every religious
dogma and to every religious Order. Its only principle is an absolute respect for
freedom of conscience. In matters of faith it confirms nothing and it denies nothing. It
respects in an equal degree all sincere convictions and beliefs. Thus the doors of our
temples open to admit Catholics as well as Protestants, to admit the atheist as well as
the deist, provided they are conscientious and honourable. After the debate in which
we are at present taking part, no intelligent and honourable man will be able to
seriously state that the Grand Orient of France has acted from a desire to banish from
its Lodges belief in God and in the immortality of the soul, but, on the contrary, that in
the name of absolute freedom of conscience it proclaims solemnly its respect for the
convictions, teachings, and beliefs of our ancestors. We refrain, moreover, as much
from denying as from affirming any dogma, in order that we may remain faithful to
our principles and practice of human solidarity."
Bro. Minot, in speaking on the same subject, said: "The Constitution of 1865 had
realized a transitory progress. The work must be completed and purified by
suppressing dogma and by rendering Masonry once again universal, by the
proclamation of the principle of absolute freedom of conscience. Let no one be
mistaken in this. It is not our aim to serve the interest of any philosophic conception in
particular by our action in laying aside all distinction between doctrines. We have in
view only one thing: Freedom for each and respect for all."
The recommendation of the Committee prevailed, and action was postponed. In 1877,
after a year's study by the Lodges, the change was adopted by an almost unanimous
vote. The reporter of the Committee at the time said: "Who is not aware, at this
moment, that in advocating this suppression no one among us understands himself as
making a profession of atheism and materialism. In regard to this matter every
misunderstanding must disappear from our minds, and, if in any Lodge there should
remain any doubt in reference to this point, let them know that the Commission
declares without reservation that by acceding to the wish of Lodge No. 9 it sets before
it no other object than the proclamation of absolute liberty of conscience."
When the proposition of the Committee had been adopted by the General Assembly,
the President proposed, as an amendment, the insertion of these words: "Masonry
excludes no one on account of his beliefs." Many regarded this as superfluous, but the
President was insistent, in order that it might be clearly established in the eyes of all
that Masonry is a neutral territory, in which all beliefs are admitted and treated with
equal respect. The suggestion was adopted.
It may be interesting to note that the original proposer that the Grand Orient of France
should suppress the formula of the G. A. of the U. was a clergyman of the Protestant
Church, and he stated, in justification, as follows:
"In suppressing the formula respecting the G. A. of the U. we did not mean to replace
it by a materialistic formula. None among us in proposing this suppression, thought of
professing atheism or materialism, and we declare formally and emphatically that we
had no other end in view than to proclaim absolute liberty of conscience."
I have given the words and opinions of those responsible for the change in the
Constitution so that there may be no room for misunderstandings. The Grand Orient
of France, in making the change, has done no more than was done by the Government
of Great Britain when she admitted members to seats in the House of Commons by
allowing them to make an affirmation only when their convictions would not allow
them to take a religious oath. The same custom prevails in our Courts of Justice.
Their position will bear a little further examination to make clear its consistency. The
story, as depicted by our Ritual, tells of a great loss and a life-long search for this
something, which was lost. Masonry ends at the point when something else is
substituted to temporarily make good that loss, and at the point where Masonry ends
we are expected to begin the search.
Various explanations have been given as to what this is that was lost, and which all
Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Gentile, Christian and Pagan, are seeking for. The
simplest and clearest explanation of this that was lost is that it was "the way back to
"The way back to God." That is the door then to which Masonry leads. Cannot any of
us go as far as that door with any, be he Agnostic, Deist, Buddhist, or any other, so
long as he conforms to Anderson's original specifications, and is a good man and true,
a man of honour and honesty? At the door, of course, we would separate, each to
follow on his own way. But happily we can come back to the Lodge again and again
for mutual encouragement, and for strength for a fresh start on our several paths, all of
which are alike dark and obscure.
It is not the function of Masonry to solve the riddle of life but to propound it and
stimulate and encourage each of her initiates to search for his own solution. It takes
each man so far, and there leaves him to find the answer for himself. By the very fact
that Masonry itself gives no answer, it demonstrates clearly that the answer is not the
same to every man. All this would seem to lead to freedom from dogma of all kind
and justify France and Belgium in the stand they take.
I do not wish to be understood to say that it is wrong for a Mason in Lodge to declare
belief in God. But I would like to be able to accept as brethren any good men and true,
men of honour and honesty, who are earnest searchers after the same truth as we are,
even though they do not insist in Lodge on a declaration of belief in God. French
Masons appear to be worthy men, doing a wonderful work for the cause of progress
Another so-called grievance against the Grand Orient of France is that they have taken
the Bible off the altar. Many of us have imagined that because the Bible is one of the
Great Lights according to our Ritual and usage that its place has been in Masonic
Lodges from time immemorial. To most the presence of the Bible on the altar is in
some way a landmark. Suiprising it may be, but the Bible was not even mentioned in
Masonic Rituals until 1724, and it was in 1760 that Preston moved that it be made one
of the Great Lights of Masonry. One might properly question whether Anglo-Saxon
Masonry did not violate a landmark when she introduced religious dogmatism into
Masonry in the middle of the Eighteenth Century.
As Masons, we have before us the great object of the fraternal brotherhood of man.
This will carry with it peace and prosperity. Is not the attainment of this worth the
abolition of narrow intolerance ? Let us maintain, if we wish, our own principles
concerning God and religion, but forever banish all dogmatism as to what others shall
do in this connection, so long as they are earnestly working to attain the great
principles of Masonry. Does not the situation demand the serious thought of every
Should not Tolerance and Fraternity prevail ? France is holding out the brotherly hand
to us, saying: "Let by-gones be by-gones, and let us look solely to the future." Should
we as Masons hold at more than arm's length an institution which consistently devotes
itself to those lofty aims and pursuits which we preach better than we practice?
Even as the Arts, Sciences, and other phases of human activity have benefited by
international discussion and concord, so also can Masonry benefit, if Masonry is to
sustain in the future its splendid record, and attain the object she seeks, is not world-
wide international co-operation necessary? How else can we attain a Universal
With the present world crisis the time has come when Freemasonry should stand forth,
free from all entrammelling influences, in its grand simplicity. Our Lodges should be
centres of thought, influence and effort, holding no task alien that will advance the
cause of righteousness on earth. To this end we could leam much by confraternity
with such an organization as the Grand Orient of France. Is "Brotherly Love" to be
nothing more than a label which we carry but which does not properly belong to the
goods at all ?
THE FAITH THAT IS IN THEM - A FRATERNAL FORUM
Wildey E. Atchison, Iowa.
EDITED BY BRO. GEORGE E. FRAZER
PRESIDENT, THE BOARD OF STEWARDS
Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Geo. W. Baird, District of Columbia.
H. L. Haywood, Iowa.
Joseph Barnett, California.
John W. Barry, Iowa.
Joe L. Carson, Virginia.
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
Henry R. Evans, District of Columbia.
H. D. Funk, Minnesota.
F. B. Gault, Washington.
Joseph C. Greenfield, Georgia.
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
M. M. Johnson, Massachusetts.
John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
Harold A. Kingsbury, Connecticut.
Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
Julius H. McCollum, Connecticut.
Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin.
John Pickard, Missouri.
C. M. Schenck, Colorado.
Francis W. Shepardson, Illinois.
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
H. W. Ticknor, Maryland.
Denman S. Wagstaff, California.
S. W. Williams, Tennessee.
(Contributions to this Monthly Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each
writer who has contributed one or more articles to THE BUILDER. Subjects for
discussion are selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today.
Discussions of politics, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided, the
purpose of the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal
opinions of leading Masonic students. The contributing editors assume responsibility
only for what each writes over his own signature. Comment from our Members on the
subjects discussed here will be welcomed in the Question Box and Correspondence
QUESTION NO. 9— Is it advisable for the Master of each Lodge to refer applications
for initiation and membership to one standing committee on membership appointed
annually? If so, shall this Committee be composed of past officers? If not, what other
methods may a Lodge adopt in maintaining uniform standards of membership
Standing Committee Works Well.
As to the advisability of a Master referring applications to a standing committee
appointed annually (based upon long usage in my own Lodge, Excelsior No. 369) —
emphatically yes. Too much care can not be exercised in looking into the antecedents
of those knocking at the Portals of Masonry if we are to maintain the same high
standard of membership which has made our Institution unique among all others for
Quality of Membership. A Committee honored with this considerable responsibility
extending over a twelve month period must naturally feel the same sort of
responsibility as the line officers of a Lodge and acquire added and valuable
experience "each time out" upon a "character-quest." We have had such satisfactory
results with our own Standing Committee in Excelsior that for some years now they
have been annually reappointed and have yet to give us any cause for complaint. It is
frequently their custom to ask "more time" for investigation and when one finally does
pass the doors of Excelsior Lodge No. 369, it is evidence that such a one comes with a
clean slate. Blackballing is an infrequent occurrence in our Lodge as the Committee
generally recommends the prompt withdrawal of a petition which it can not report
"full and favorable." Not one of our present Committee is a Past Officer but each of
the three is a long time and faithful attendant upon Lodge, endeavoring to live up to
the traditions bom of fifty-two years of existence. With considerable pride I can point
to the membership of Excelsior as justifying in every minute particular the extreme
advisability of having a Committee of this kind. We have never found it necessary to
advertise our meetings in the daily press inasmuch as the interest and enthusiasm of
our own members is sufficient to assure us a representative attendance at our meetings
and such visitors as enter our portals from time to time of their own free will and
accord generally indicate their approval of our old-fashioned ways and adherence to
the ancient landmarks by coming again. Much of the credit for which is due to an
experienced and careful Investigating Committee. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
* * * Method of a San Lrancisco Master. I may only answer from a "California"
standpoint, and as follows:
"It is not only inadvisable, but without the law, both written and unwritten, to appoint
a committee of three, who shall jointly hold office for a year; and as such pass upon
all applications that may be made to the Lodge for membership within that time."
Personally I believe this to be GOOD LAW and have this to say in its defense. In all
notes on Masonic procedure of the past in America, where Masonry is or was
Masonry, we have evidence that, unless the Lodge were so small as to preclude the
possibility of appointing a new Committee each month and a separate one on each
Candidate, the practice has been to do so. This is California law. May I not ask why it
should not be so ? I may be here permitted to answer as follows:
One of the principal Landmarks— indeed one of the comer stones used in upbuilding
our structure is and always has been— secrecy. We aim to avoid letting it be known
"who shall judge of our qualifications, as men fit to be Masons." We aim to protect
our membership from the "venom" of a man found unworthy! Hence we keep the
identity of our committee-men on petitions secret! We aim to appoint Committees that
are unknown, even to the members of the Lodge, so that unbiased, free and impartial
judgment, pro or con, may be rendered by such Committee. If a Lodge member has
detrimental evidence, he can consult the Master, who is and should be the only
"standing committeeman." Thirty days should be ample to disclose most "hidden"
characteristics, where a committee has but the one object to work on; and if not long
enough another thirty or even sixty days for further investigation may be allowed.
More than one investigation in a month rather dulls the interest any man may have in
such duty, and in consequence, such a disposition naturally reflects on the results the
Lodge relies on so implicitly. Any "standing committee" would soon become "public
property"— as from mouth to ear, the most inconsequential matters are rehearsed, even
"on the square."
To gain a uniform standard for membership and to ascertain the qualifications of a
candidate, the committee should not be afraid or too politic to ask questions. As the
Master of Fairmount Lodge No. 435 of San Francisco, I made use of a printed list of
questions. In addition we have always been in the habit of notifying sister lodges.
These forms are of course supplementary to a standard committee-man's notice. Now
if you are not too "awfully polite" about getting the "ORIGINAL INFORMATION"
your standard of qualification may be easily fixed and forever maintained. Denman S.
* * *
Appoint Strangers. As to the advisability of the Master of each Lodge referring
applications for initiation and membership to one standing committee on membership,
annually, I would advise that it would not be fair to impose so much work on any one
committee: nor could we expect a single committee to give so much time and labor,
The puipose of a committee on petitions is to verify whether or not the postulant is
worthy. It has become a custom to name, on such committees, the friends or neighbors
of the petitioners, in the interest of convenience, time and labor. While this has its
advantages, it has, also, its disadvantages. A man's friends are right sure to report
A friend is one who sees your good qualities in preference to your bad ones. The
petitioner is apt to resent rejection by "getting even" with the man he suspects of
blackballing him. The neighbor or friend who served on the committee and visited
that petitioner, thus may become an innocent mark.
A glance at the Grievance and Appeals Reports which are to be found in so many
Grand Lodge publications, is quite enough to convince even the shortest haired
brother that we are taking in too many. The puipose of the Lodge and of the Order is
to select quality in preference to quantity; and, with this in view, we would give it as
our advice to put all strangers on such committees, i. e. strangers to the petitioner, and
we also think the committee should be required to search the character of the
petitioner from his cradle to the date of his petition. This may take time and may
require labor, but it is worth the while.
We have heard very good brethren, when defending their favorable report, say that
they were unable to find anything against the petitioner. With this the writer has
always disagreed, and has urged that we should find the petitioner to be good, upright,
respected, worthy, held in high esteem, in fact an acquisition. One who would bring
something to the Lodge in lieu of deriving character from it.
We should not forget that a Masonic obligation is mutual; it pledges the entire
fraternity to the initiate, as well as pledging him to the Fraternity. The Lodge, per se,
is secondary, in this matter; the Lodge is responsible to the Grand Lodge for its
mistakes. Geo. W. Baird, Washington, D. C.
* * *
Emphatic "No." Regarding the Committees of Investigation on the application of
candidates for membership— First, should it be an annually appointed standing
committee ? Emphatically NO; any such move tends to remove from the body and
personnel of a Lodge the very important attitude of personal responsibility, to me one
of the most dangerous states of mind into which any association can fall; it is hard
enough now with so many Lodges having become mere work shops to find any
incentive for the innocent bystander to attend. The whole matter of candidates is so
closely a family matter that I would make it a first consideration, and then if there was
any time left I would confer a degree. Every member should be made to feel his
interest in the Lodge by every means possible, and it is not so important that you have
had a scientific combing out of the character of a candidate as it is to have your
members think they are doing something for the Lodge; if your Master can't handle
the situation hurry it up so he will get into the glorious army of Past Masters and get
somebody in his place with brains and executive ability in his head and Masonry in
Second— If a standing committee should it be composed of Past Masters? Also by the
same token, an emphatic NO; beyond all things NO. If there is anything else in the
machinery of a Lodge which causes trouble more often than anything else it is the
Past Master, or past officers; by their assumed wisdom and standing they tend to
attract to themselves that power of ipse dixit, and instead of the Mason being a
member of a Lodge he soon gets to be an echo and then a very faint one. The main
thing is to magnify the member, the past officers have had their chance.
Third— What should be done to maintain a standard of membership? It is a question if
we want any uniform standard other than the Constitutions demand. By that I mean
any hard and fast drawn detailed specifications, unnatural and unapplicable. Masonry
is a progressive institution and candidates as well as members must keep up with the
I am a Masonic Progressive in every sense of the word where my good sense points
out, but in this case of committees on applications I do not believe there is or can be
any better method than the old way. Any variation tends to lack of interest in the
second most important feature of our work, the getting of proper candidates. The first
most important feature is to keep him when you get him and make something out of
the raw material God has entrusted to your skill and human interest. The third
important feature is to confer the degrees by which you teach him his Duty to that
God and the neighbor and anything which interferes with these orders of importance
in my opinion is wrong and tends to disintegration and decay. T. W. Hugo,
Minnesota. * * * Lodges in Small Towns.
My experience in Lodges of 250 or less, situated in towns of less than 20,000
population, is to the effect that it is better to handle these matters by the appointment
of a special committee of three members on each application. Whether in larger
Lodges and in more populous centers it would be better to adopt the plan proposed is
a matter which from my experience I would not be able to judge. Frank E. Noyes,
* * *
Give Duties to All Members.
I would not advocate reference of applications for initiation for membership by the
Master to a standing committee on membership for the reason that it places too much
power in the hands of a few men. This does not impugn the motives of the few men,
but I have noticed that where the same committees are constantly appointed by the
Master the rest of the members seem inclined to let them do all the work. The best
results for a live Lodge in my own experience as Master have been obtained by setting
every member to some kind of work. If the committee is composed of officers
entirely, this creates the impression that the rank and file do not amount to much in
the consideration of the Master, so I would say that wherever possible different
committees for every petition should be appointed so as to put the entire membership
to work. They will be better acquainted with the persons who apply and there seems to
be some spirit of brotherhood in this. J. W. Norwood, Kentucky.
* * *
No Universal Method Feasible. It is customary in this section to appoint a special
committee of investigation on every petition presented. So much so is this the case
that when the question was presented for my consideration I looked up the law
expecting to find it so laid down. Strict search of the subordinate and Grand Lodge
by-laws, however, revealed the fact that they were to be referred to a committee of
investigation, no provision being made as to whether it be a standing committee or
It would seem as though no general or universal rule could be made governing this.
Local conditions would influence this largely. In the large city Lodges where a large
number of applications are received, no one committee of three men could investigate
and do it thoroughly on every petition presented. On the other hand, when a limited
number of petitions are presented a standing committee of men well known to be
thorough, conscientious and fair-minded might be of advantage. Should such a
committee be raised I do not think it should arbitrarily be made up of Past Masters,
but rather of men who are known to possess the proper qualifications as partially
listed above and to which might be added spare time and willingness.
Considering the subject from all points, however, I think the work will be more
thoroughly done by carefully selected special committees than by a standing
committee, there being danger of the standing committee growing stale and doing the
work in a perfunctory manner. Julius H. McCollum, Connecticut.
Use Brains— Not Blanks.
If a Lodge is a small one, it might be practicable and perhaps would be desirable to
have all applications for the degrees passed upon by a single committee. In case of a
large Lodge it seems to me that such a course would not be practicable as the
committee would be so over-burdened with work that its investigations would lack
If such a committee exists it should be appointed by the Worshipful Master and great
care should be taken in its selection. I see no reason why it should be limited to past
officers although the presumption would be that past officers would afford the best
material for such committee.
The real safeguard of a Lodge consists in care with which the Committees on
applications are appointed. Only too often this appointment is merely perfunctory and
weak committees are appointed.
This and many other matters upon which the wellbeing of the fraternity depends can
be safeguarded only by care and diligence of officers and members. My personal
conviction is that there is at present a regrettable tendency to attempt to provide for
these matters by machinery. I do not believe that blanks can take tile place of brains or
that machinery can take the place of the personal care and attention which must be
given to our affairs if they are to be carefully conducted. Frederick W. Hamilton,
* * * Experience of a Colorado Past Master. Some out of the ordinary conditions
exist in the Colorado Lodge which I served as Master. The membership of this Lodge
is divided into practically three classes, approximately one-half being composed of
railroad men— officials, enginemen, trainmen, yardmen and shopmen, three-eighths of
business and professional men living in the city, and one-eighth of farmers and stock-
growers living in the country.
It is the usual custom in this Lodge to appoint on the petition of an engineman a
committee of his fellowworkers— for instance a fireman, or engineer, or both, and a
conductor or brakeman, or a similar combination; on the petition of a shopman, two
fellow- shopmen and usually a townsman not connected with the railroad. The
townsman, a business man, would investigate the petitioner's standing among the
business men of the city— making inquiries as to whether or not he was prompt in
meeting his bills, etc., an important item in railroad towns having a large floating
population. On the petition of an official of the railroad would be appointed railroad
men of various occupations— possibly a train-dispatcher, a shopman and a conductor,
fireman, engineer or brakeman.
The jurisdiction of this Lodge extends forty-one miles in a southwesterly direction,
and embraces a large farming and cattle -raising country. Many farmers and cattle-men
in this territory have joined the Lodge. On a petition of one of these would be
appointed three of his neighbors.
Railroad men who are out on their runs nearly half of the time could not efficiently
investigate a petitioner living on a ranch forty miles from town, nor would a
committee composed of these ranchmen be expected to successfully investigate a
trainman or engineman.
A fireman, conductor and brakeman composing a committee on an engineer's petition
would have the opportunity to investigate the petitioner's actions and conduct at the
distant railroad terminal where nearly half his time is spent in lay-overs. Also his
fellowworkers on a shopman's petition could make a more thorough and satisfactory
investigation than could a committee of business men or farmers.
In communities where the above conditions obtain it is obvious that one standing
investigating committee would not be as efficient as the class committees mentioned,
even if such a standing committee could be found who would be willing and able to
act as such. Out of the entire membership of the Lodge, which numbers some 250, 1
doubt if there could be selected three members who would have the time to act on
such a committee. Wildey E. Atchison, Iowa.
* * *
No Committees in Virginia.
Virginia allows no Committee on petitions for initiation or applications for
membership. Our reason for this is our unwillingness to trust their perfunctory reports
and our consciousness that the members would trust too much to those reports. Is not
this all too true, where the system prevails? We require the avouchers to satisfy the
Lodge, from personal knowledge of the fitness of the candidate, and some of the
officers and members are sure to make some investigations "on their own."
The above answers your whole block of questions and my long Masonic experience
convinces me that no other plan would work so well. Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
* * *
Experience in Ireland.
On the question before the Fraternal Forum this month a Lodge to which I belonged in
Ireland had the following fixed regulation:
All names proposed for membership were passed on by a Committee of four, the W.
M., Secretary, and two members appointed by the popular voice of the Lodge. The W.
M. conveyed to the proposer and seconder the finding of the Committee. If the
"Tongue of Good Report" had not been heard in favor of the candidate the name was
If they insisted on going to ballot, the W. M. read the Report of the Committee before
"circulating the Ballot," and the Lodge usually "governed itself accordingly."
I never knew the Lodge to make a mistake and the membership was of the best
Masonic material. J. L. Carson, Virginia.
* * *
Theoretically, the idea is a good one, a standing committee of high grade men
working together will, no doubt, maintain a high physical, mental and moral standard
in candidates reported on favorably.
But the great objection to this plan is that it may lead to clannishness. It also takes
away the feeling of responsibility all members should feel in the fitness of candidates
This responsibility is felt more by the membership if separate committees are
appointed by the Master to look up each aspirant for Masonic initiation.
I would suggest, however, that each Lodge prepare a code for the guidance of its
investigating committees. I would also require that each member of each investigating
committee personally see each candidate and assure himself of his fitness. Then the
three investigators and Master should confer on each aspirant— not simply make and
receive a brief report as is so commonly done now just before the ballot is taken. John
G. Keplinger, Illinois.
DO IT NOW
Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up until your
friends are dead, but fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving and cheering
words while their ears can hear them and while their hearts can be thrilled by them.
The kind things you will say after they are gone, say before they go. The flowers you
mean to send for their coffins, bestow them now, and so brighten and sweeten their
homes before they leave them.
If my friends have alabaster boxes laid away full of fragrant perfumes of sympathy
and affection, which they intend to break over my dead body, I would rather they
would bring them now in many weary and troubled hours and open them that I may be
refreshed and cheered while I need them and can enjoy them. I would rather have a
plain coffin without flowers and a funeral without an eulogy than a life without the
sweetness of love and sympathy. Let us leam to anoint our friends beforehand for
Post-mortem kindness cannot cheer the burdened spirit. Flowers on the casket spread
no fragrance backward over the weary way over which the loved ones have traveled.
—John Lloyd Thomas, 33d.
THE STORY OF THE SCOTTISH RITE
BY BRO. C. C. ADAMS, ENGLAND
The warrant for the existence of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Masonry is
found in a number of documents which are now in the possession of the Supreme
Council for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, and it is from
these that it is possible to gather up the threads which go to form the history of one of
the greatest organisations of Masonry.
The beginning of the Scottish Rite is from a Templar source, so we cannot do better
than go back to the period after the Crusades, when the defenders of the Cross were
returning from their wars in the Holy Land. Although primarily driven forward by
religious motives, and eager to save the land of Palestine from the hands of the
Saracen, there is no doubt that many of these cavaliers were also out to capture what
worldly property they could from the hated Turk, with the result that as soon as the
wars were finished they found themselves rich and settled down to a life of ease on
the plains of central and southern Europe. The wealth and power of the Order soon
aroused the avarice and envy of both the Church and the State with the result that a
number of persecutions were deliberately organised with the object of overthrowing
the Order and forfeiting its possessions. Many charges, the chief of which was
idolatry, were trumped up against the Knights with the object of bringing them to trial.
The culmination of these persecutions occurred in Paris in the year 1314, when
Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Order, was publicly burned to death. This
caused a general dispersion of the Order and there is a great deal of doubt as to what
followed. There are a number of versions which might almost be called legends of the
subsequent history, the majority of which are probably fictitious, but it is an
undoubted fact that after this time the Templars flourished and remained free from
persecution in Scotland where they are said to have united with the Freemasons. This
was the beginning of all High Grade and Scottish Masonry.
A number of Scottish Templars entered Robert Bruce's army and after the battle of
Bannockburn were formed into the Royal Order of Scotland which consisted and still
does consist of two degrees, the Order of Heredom and the Knighthood of the Rosy
All High Grade Masonry claims the Order of the Temple as its origin and this was the
basis of a system founded at Lyons in France in the year 1743. Six degrees were
recognised of which the first three or Craft degrees were not worked; the remaining
degrees were the fourth degree or the Knight of the Eagle, the forerunner of our
present eighteenth degree of Sovereign Prince Rose Croix, the fifth degree entitled
Illustrious Knight or Templar, and the sixth and last degree of Sublime Illustrious
Knight. From this the titles of Illustrious and Sublime used so freely in the Scottish
Rite of today evidently originated. The system which I have just quoted also shows
the connection between the Masonic grades of Rose Croix and Knight Templar, a
connection which is obvious from many of the symbols.
In 1747, Charles Edward Stuart, the Pretender, while in exile in France is said to have
instituted a Chapter of Rose Croix Masons at Arras to which he communicated the
Scottish Masonry which he had brought from his own country.
Another interesting step in the history of these degrees is the Baldwyn Encampment
of Knights Templar at Bristol, England, which was working shortly after this time and
conferred the following degrees:
Id Entered Apprentice.
2d Fellow Craft.
3d Master Mason.
4d Royal Arch.
5d Knight Templar and Knights of Malta.
6d Rose Croix.
7d Knight Kadosh (the present 30d).
The origin of this encampment is unknown.
In 1754 the Chevalier de Bonneville established a Chapter of high degrees in Paris at
the College of Jesuits of Clermont. This was called the Chapter of Clermont and at
first worked only the three degrees which were conferred at Lyons eleven years
before. The system was, however, soon expanded and renamed the Rite of Perfection
or Rite of Heredom of twenty five degrees. This system included all our present
degrees from the first to the twenty- second. The 23d of the Rite was our present 28d
and was then called the degree of Knights Princes Adepts. The degree of Knight
Kadosh (30d) was the twenty-fourth degree and the system was completed by the
twenty- fifth degree now known to us as the thirty-second degree of Sublime Prince of
the Royal Secret. Throughout this system the theory was maintained that Freemasonry
had its origin in the Order of the Knights Templar.
The derivation of the word Heredom is unknown but it appears to have come from
Scotland and it is probable that this name and several of the Scottish factors were
taken from Scotland to France by the Stuarts in their exile.
Four years after the formation of the Chapter of Clermont, that is to say, in 1758, a
new body was organised in Paris which absorbed the Clermont Chapter. This was
called the Council of Emperors of the East and West and governed the twenty- five
degrees of the Rite of Perfection. The Emperors governed what was entitled the Holy
Empire which title still survives in our present Supreme Councils, whose Secretary is
called the Secretary General H. E. (in some countries Grand Secretary General H. E.)
We have copies of the Statutes of the Sovereign Grand Council at this time and it
appears that there were headquarters at Berlin, Paris and Bordeaux.
There were then:
Lodges of Perfection-- Id to 14d.
Councils of Knights of the East— 15d.
Councils of Princes of Jerusalem— 16d.
Chapters of Princes Rose Croix— 17d to 18d.
Consistories of S.R.P.S.— 19d to 25d.
At this time any member of the 15d could confer the lower degrees of the Rite on
Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts and Master Masons, and any member of the Rose
Croix degree could make Masons in a district where there was no Symbolic Lodge.
In the year 1761, Stephen Morin, who was leaving France for the West Indies, was
given a warrant by the Council of Emperors of the East and West to propagate the
Rite in America. He made several Inspectors General in North America, one of whom,
M. Hayes, had power to appoint others and made Isaac Da Costa Deputy Inspector
General for South Carolina, who, in 1783, established a Grand Lodge of Perfection at
At this time the Rite still consisted of twenty- five degrees but soon afterwards
Frederick the Great became Sovereign Grand Commander in Germany and he again
reorganised the system.
German symbols, such as the Teutonic Cross and the Eagle were introduced into
many of the degrees and seven new degrees were added making a total of thirty-two
degrees. The regulations of Frederick the Great of 1786 provided for the government
of the Order by a Supreme Council who were to be of the thirty third degree of
Sovereign Grand Inspector General.
In 1801, the Grand Lodge of Perfection at Charleston adopted the new continental
system of thirty-three degrees and a Supreme Council was formed, this being the
Mother Supreme Council of the world. The title of Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Rite was then taken. From this Supreme Council, a Council for France was
established in 1804 and one for Italy in 1805. In 1813, the Supreme Council for the
Northern Jurisdiction of the United States was formed and in 1 845 the Supreme
Council for England, from which originated, in 1874, the Supreme Council for
There are now Supreme Councils in almost every civilised country, and the Rite has
spread to a tremendous extent. There are, however, different systems for conferring
the degrees in different countries. In the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States
there are Lodges of Perfection 14d, Rose Croix Chapters 18d, Councils of Knights
Kadosh 30d, and Consistories of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret 32d; in the
Northern Jurisdiction, there are also Councils of Princes of Jerusalem 1 6d, but
Councils of Knights Kadosh 30d are not held. In Canada, there are Lodges of
Perfection 14d and Rose Croix Chapters 18d; also one Consistory of the thirty-second
degree for each Province.
In England, Scotland and Ireland, the system is very different; there are Rose Croix
Chapters which communicate the degrees from the 4d to the 17d in a short form and
the 1 8d of Sovereign Prince Rose Croix in full. There are no Consistories in these
countries and all degrees above the 18d are conferred only by the Supreme Council.
In the Northern and Southern Jurisdictions of the United States and in Canada there
are thirty- three active members of the Supreme Council and a number of honorary
members, all of whom are of the thirty third degree.
In England there are only nine members of the Supreme Council and the total number
of members of the thirty-third degree is limited to thirty-three. Also, under this
jurisdiction the numbers are limited in all the high degrees. Candidates for the 30d
must have been members of the Rite for at least three years and installed Most Wise
Sovereign of a Rose Croix Chapter. The number of members of the 3 Id is limited to
99, and of the 32d to 63, the vacancies being filled by selection by the Supreme
Council. The Scottish and Irish arrangements are very similar to the English in this
matter. The English Supreme Council also dropped the title "Scottish" some years ago
and the Rite is now known in that country as the "Ancient and Accepted Rite."
In conclusion, I should point out that there is a great deal of doubt as to the origin and
early history of these degrees; during the eighteenth century a great number of so-
called High Grades sprung up all over Europe and the origin of most of them is very
obscure. Undoubtedly, there is a connection between this Rite and the Order of the
Temple, and it is probable that the House of Stuart, the Pretenders to the throne of
England were a factor in the case.
The true value of this Rite, as of any other, is to be found in what it gives to its
members; however obscure the history may be, we have in the Ancient and Accepted
Rite, a system of degrees whose teaching is of the most sublime nature to be found in
the Masonic Order.
— o —
GOD grant me understanding, --
That I may put away myself and think of others;
That those with whom I daily work may be my brothers,
And to them from my heart show true affection.
Thus may I bring my life to real perfection.
GOD grant me understanding.
GOD give me understanding;—
That I may feel the sorrows others feel when most they grieve
That to my lips may come the cheery work they would receive;
That I may give to some one hope to work out their new plan;
That I may read my dear friends' thoughts if I their faces scan.
GOD grant me understanding.
GOD give me understanding;—
To tune my soul in sympathy with others' joy,
To live a life of Charity without alloy;
To know how life is seen by those about me
And help them know they cannot live without Thee.
GOD give me understanding.
E. E. M.
FOR THE MONTHLY LODGE MEETING
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN— No. 16
DEVOTED TO ORGANIZED MASONIC STUDY
Edited by Bro. Robert I. Clegg
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for its foundation two sources of Masonic information:
THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia In another paragraph is explained how
the references to former issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may
be worked up as supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course
with the paper by Brother Clegg.
The Course is divided into five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is
Division I. Ceremonial Masonry
A. The Work of a Lodge
B. The Lodge and the Candidate
C. First Steps.
D. Second Steps
E. Third Steps
Division II. Symbolical Masonry.
B. Working Tools
Division III. Philosophical Masonry.
D. Religious Aspect.
E. The Quest.
G. The Secret Doctrine.
IV. Legislative Masonry.
A. The Grand Lodge.
1 . Ancient Constitutions
2. Codes of Law.
3. Grand Lodge Practices.
4. Relationship to Constituent Lodges.
5. Official Duties and Prerogatives.
B. The Constituent Lodge.
2. Qualifications of Candidates.
3. Initiation, Passing and Raising.
5. Change of Membership.
Division V. Historical Masonry.
A. The Mysteries— Earliest Masonic Light.
B. Studies of Rites— Masonry in the Making
C. Contributions to Lodge Characteristics
D. National Masonry
E. Parallel Peculiarities in Lodge Study
F. Feminine Masonry.
G. Masonic Alphabets
H. Historical Manuscripts of the Craft.
I. Biographical Masonry.
J. Philological Masonry— Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting a paper written by Brother Clegg, who is following the
foregoing outline. We are now in " Lirst Steps" of Ceremonial Masonry. There will be
twelve monthly papers under this particular subdivision. On page two, preceding each
installment, will be given a number of "Helpful Hints" and a list of questions to be
used by the chairman of the Committee during the study period which will bring out
every point touched upon in the paper.
Whenever possible we shall reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles
from other sources which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by
Brother Clegg in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental
papers in addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of
references. Much valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to the
attention of many of our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle
Bulletin should be used one month later than their appearance. If this is done the
Committee will have opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance
of the meetings and the Brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research
Society will be better enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over
and studied the installment in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PAPERS
Immediately preceding each of Brother Clegg's monthly papers in the Correspondence
Circle Bulletin will be found a list of references to THE BUILDER and Mackey's
Encyclopedia. These references are pertinent to the paper and will either enlarge upon
many of the points touched upon or bring out new points for reading and discussion.
They should be assigned by the Committee to different Brethren who may compile
papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or in many instances the
articles themselves or extracts therefrom may be read directly from the originals. The
latter method may be followed when the members may not feel able to compile
original papers, or when the original may be deemed appropriate without any
alterations or additions.
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The Lodge should select a "Research Committee" preferably of three "live" members
The study meetings should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the
Lodge called for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the
Lodge routine) should be transacted — all possible time to be given to the study
After the Lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master
should turn the Lodge over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This
Committee should be fully prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All
members to whom references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be
prepared with their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
1. Reading of the first section of Brother Clegg's paper and the supplemental papers
(Suggestion: While these papers are being read the members of the Lodge should
make notes of any points they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion
is opened. Tabs or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be
distributed among the members for this puipose at the opening of the study period.)
2. Discussion of the above.
3. The subsequent sections of Brother Clegg's paper and the supplemental papers
should then be taken up, one at a time, and disposed of in the same manner.
4. Question Box.
MAKE THE "QUESTION BOX" THE FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
Invite questions from any and all Brethren present. Let them understand that these
meetings are for their particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the
questions they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to
facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the paper. If at
the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them, SEND THEM IN
TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in an endeavor to
supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make special research when
called upon, and will usually be able to give answers within a day or two. Please
remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles
away, and, by order of the Trustees of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it
at our disposal on any query raised by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information should enable local Committees to conduct their Lodge
study meetings with success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and
communications from interested Brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not
entirely clear to them, and the services of our Study Club Department are at the
command of our members, Lodge and Study Club Committees at all times.
HELPFUL HINTS TO STUDY CLUB LEADERS
From the following questions the Committee should select, some time prior to the
evening of the study meeting, the particular questions that they may wish to use at
their meeting which will bring out the points in the following paper which they desire
to discuss. Even were but five minutes devoted to the discussion of each of the
questions given it will be seen that it would be impossible to discuss all of them in ten
or twelve hours. The wide variety of questions here given will afford individual
Committees an opportunity to arrange their program to suit their own fancies and also
furnish additional material for a second study meeting each month if desired by the
In conducting the study periods the Chairman should endeavor to hold the discussions
closely to the text and not permit the members to speak too long at one time or to stray
onto another subject. Whenever it becomes evident that the discussion is turning from
the original subject the Chairman should request the speaker to make a note of the
particular point or phase of the matter he wishes to discuss or inquire into, and bring it
up when the Question Box period is opened.
QUESTIONS ON "CIRCUMAMBULATION"
1. What does "circumambulation" mean ? What illustrations does Brother Clegg give
of it? Can you name other very ancient rites still in use ? Why do they appeal to men ?
Do you see in any of the ceremonies of this kind mentioned by Brother Clegg
anything which parallels the Masonic ceremony of circumambulation ? If so, what is
it, and to what may it be likened ?
2. What is sought in this ceremony ? How did primitive man hope to control the
forces of nature ? Have we learned any better way than by acting in harmony with
them? How do we control the forces of steam, of electricity, of water, of power, etc. ?
Why did primitive man expect to secure favors from the gods by sacrificing to them?
3. How did this idea of sacrifice tend to develop a ritual ? From what probable source
did the rite of circumambulation as we know it, develop ? Why do the sun and stars
still appear as symbols in religious systems? Can you give other examples of the
tendency of mankind to imitate the heavenly bodies ?
4. Who was anciently considered to be the god of the Sea / of War? of the Sun? the
goddess of the chase? Can you name other Greek and Roman gods and goddesses?
Imitation of the heavenly bodies eventually came to be told as the story of the actual
experience of the gods and goddesses; how did this finally lead to dramatization of
these stories ? Can you give other illustrations of common myths in which this
tendency is shown to be the foundation of various superstitions ?
5. Why does the candidate meet obstructions? What are the obstructions that you meet
from day to day ? Does your experience in Masonry help you to overcome them?
What obstructions has Masonry met in the past ? What obstructions does it meet now?
Co-operation means to "work together, or in harmony"; how can we co-operate to
enable Masonry to do its work in the world ? Are you a "co-operator" in the Lodge, or
a "knocker" ? Which does the Lodge the most good ? Which does you the most good?
6. Why does the Lodge ask you if it is of your "own free will and accord" so often?
Why does not Masonry force itself upon you? Do religion, or culture, or knowledge
force themselves upon you? What does it mean to have a "free will"? How can an
enslaved will be freed? How can a weak will be strengthened? Is not this the idea of
"co-operation with the forces of nature" taught by the rites we are now studying ?
How does Masonry free our wills from the slavery of passion ignorance, prejudice and
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PAPERS
The articles by Brother Clegg and Brother Haywood in this issue of the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin comprise practically everything we are able to
discover on the subject of "Circumambulation", with the exception of the following
THE BUILDER: Vol. Ill— "What An Entered Apprentice Ought To Know," by Bro.
Hal Riviere, April C. C B., p. 6.
Mackey's Encyclopedia: Circumambulation, Rite of, p. 162.
PART IV— CIRCUMAMBULATION
CIRCUMAMBULATION means nothing more as a word than to walk around. The
sailor trudging around the windlass, the faithful quadruped plodding around the
horsepower machine, the children in their various games holding hands in circles and
tripping around joyously, are all walking around but this is not all there is to
True, the children may be performing a mere play, as in the dance of the Maypole, a
veritable fragment of an ancient festival, the ceremonial ushering in the month of
flowers, the ceremony then taking on a religious aspect and exhibiting a thankfulness
at the departure of darkness and winter and at the arrival of spring with its opening
buds and beautiful blossoms.
Among the Romans there was a festival or holiday devoted to the god Terminalia. He
was especially connected with the boundary marks and limits of property or
landmarks. On the day assigned to his praise there were visits to the various
landmarks and young and old improved their acquaintance with the very important
means whereby property owners are enabled to preserve their respective land rights
Up to recent times the custom has prevailed. Shorn of its early showy tribute to the
pagan god, something curious and quaint still survived. Not long ago in England, for
example, it was the custom on one day in the year for children to be conducted around
the several landmarks of the parishes and towns. These were explained and pointed
out as impressively as was possible. In fact, it was the custom for the schoolmasters to
soundly flog a boy at every landmark ! With this training of the memories of many
boys the boundaries were long and accurately remembered!
When the customs and ceremonies here mentioned were fresh in the minds of men,
our own allusions to the landmarks in Masonry had a significance to which we
modem members of the Craft are almost strangers. Something yet remains to us of
course in the march around at the dedication and consecration of a new Lodge, a very
appropriate ceremony indeed to all the observing and especially so to the student of
symbolism, indeed much more than a mere suggestion of the scope of the Lodge in
the sweeping circle of its action for the future.
The blessing of the boundaries is a familiar ceremonial in the Roman Catholic church.
The officiating priest passes around to all the landmarks of the site for the new church,
stopping at each, and with solemn phrase offers up a fervent plea at every station.
Shakespeare has the witches in Act 4, Scene 1, of "Macbeth," dancing around the
caldron in which simmer and boil the horrible ingredients of magical evil. Later they
caused several spirits to rise from the earth and advise the misled Thane of Cawder.
Compare with this the account of the witch of Endor in your Bible, the first book of
Samuel, chapter 28, and the advice of Samuel tendered to Saul in similarly
Granted, then, the frequent use of circumambulation in ancient and modern times,
among the wise and the ignorant, to what may it be attributed? Be it the cultured
mystic with his circles and ovals plain or serpentlike, embellished or simple, or the
wild riot of the savage around his totem pole or around the tortured victim at the
stake, there is still the supernatural objective being sought. There is thus a seeking
after more than ordinary means. To what then will man appeal and how will he act?
Obviously he will seek the aid of the Great Architect of the Universe and in motion of
body will conform as fully and thoroughly as is possible to emotion of mind, suiting
the action of the word.
Now the courses of nature are marked out daily and yearly by repetition. Flowing
rivers and recurring rains, the light and warmth of the sun, the glory of the stars, the
ever restless sea, and the changing winds are seldom quite the same in viewpoint yet
always similarly to be seen. Various aspects are favorable, others affrighting. The
waters of the sea engulf the struggling swimmer from the shipwreck, the rain may
flood or parch the husbandman in farming, the lightning strikes down the unwary
wayfarer, the sun sends its beneficent rays upon the fertile earth and the fields ripen
into lusty harvest, and in all these agencies the early mind as well as the latest of
scientific thinkers see powers to be controlled.
To us as Freemasons, there is the glory of God in all things great and small; to the
savage mind all things were governed by gods great and small. He saw only the same
way of controlling these powers as the one by which he was himself influenced. Food
appealed to him, therefore a sacrifice of flesh or fruit became the medium of securing
In the sacrificial offering itself there soon came about a rigidly prescribed method, this
set rule of operations was the ritualistic ceremony, such as it was, crude and doubtless
To keep the ceremony intact of form, uniform of action and language, we had in the
primitive tribes a special class of officials, the Levites of Israel, the medicine men of
the aborigines of the United States, the priesthood of many cults and faiths and
peoples recent and remote. These were the chosen few, ministering factors for the
Of such were the priests of the Mithras, that great cult of the early era of Christendom,
that faith to which so clear a thinker as Renan assigned so promising a place as a
competitor of Christianity, unsuccessful as it was in the finishing of the race.
To Freemasons the Mithraic ritual pertains so much to the same symbolism we use
that the similarity becomes very interesting. In fact the comparison is far more than a
coincidence. Probably we inherit through hundreds of years, while philosophy moral
and natural has been taught by this simple address to surrounding forces and objects, a
rich legacy from the old religion of Mithras with its references to the East and to the
sun and other celestial bodies.
The signs of the Zodiac, the names of the stars, the allusions to Phoebus driving the
glowing chariot of the sun, and all the other reminders left to us by the mythology, the
study of the myths, of the pioneer peoples of the earth, show how close and dependent
was the confidence of the rude unschooled mind upon the facts that were linked with
his observation of the heavenly bodies. He besought the supernatural by sacrifice and
by invitation, worship of such movements as seemed most typical of the superior
force and forces. His dances around the sacrificial altar were typical of the apparent
motion of sun and moon and stars. Nay, today, the wild men of the West dress
themselves in skins and imitate the animal's walk and stealth and spring before they
go forth to the hunt. Girls in garlands of flowers in May's month of spring beauty are
themselves showing how easily this universal trait of humanity grows and flourishes
into prominence at the slightest provocation.
Down to our own times comes the suggestive saying, "the stars in their courses fought
against Sizera." Truly, the courses and paths of nature's movements have in all
seasons of the world's story impressed serious lessons on the mind of man. Of such
was bom the art of astrology, the foremnner of scientific astronomy.
To imitate the action of nature leads readily to a representation of the doing of the
fabled personages to whom the elements are dedicated. The ocean is as tmly
Neptune's as is war belonging to Mars, the arts of Apollo, the chase to Diana, and the
Sun to Zeus or Jove. Their loves and labors, their jealousies and bickerings, as
portrayed by the earliest authors like Homer and continued by innumerable writers
and singers and storytellers through the ages were then as now recited dramatically,
first as a tale and then in a play form befitting the stage.
Of such were the pioneer initiations, the ancient mysteries, and the moralities of
medieval days, all growing as the branches from the ceremonies built upon the rite of
circumambulation and its causes and controls.
In going around the celestial courses there are obstructions at the stages or stations
corresponding to the principal divisions of the compass, that sure guide to all travelers
on this earthly sphere. We are indeed free to go but we are not free from the
consequences of our going. Inspection we must pass and from all angles, not evading
scrutiny because of personal position nor missing complete examination by reason of
but part being seen instead of the whole.
What then is the teaching of this portion of our rite to which your attention has been
invited? There are several answers. We need not dogmatize nor travel afar for light.
Only the obvious lesson need be learned.
Nature and we are in touch. The more intimate we move in harmony with nature's
forces the better for our health of mind and body. Reflect upon this union of ourselves
and our surroundings. Think of the condition of him who is out of "gear" with things,
out of "touch" with affairs, and thereby out of the "running."
Environment does indeed count for very much in our daily lives. Get in tune. Keep the
feet moving naturally within that circle beyond which no real Mason should step and
where so circumscribed he can not materially err.
CIRCUMAMBULATION IN RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES
It was the ancient custom to use Circumambulation during the performance of
religious ceremonies. In Greece, while the sacrifice was in the act of consuming, the
priests and people walked in procession round the altar thrice, singing the sacred
hymn, which was divided into three parts, the Strophe, the Antistrophe, and the
Epode. While the first part was chanted, they circumambulated in a direction from
east to west, emblematical of the apparent motion of the heavenly bodies; at the
commencement of the second part, they changed their course, and proceeded from
west to east, pointing out their real motion; and, during the performance of the Epode,
they remained stationary round the altar— a symbol of the stability of the earth, waiting
for some propitious omen which might announce the divine acceptance of the
In Britain, the devotional exercises of the insular sanctuary were conducted on a
similar principle. Ceremonial processions moved round it, regulated by the mystical
numbers, and observing the course of the Sun; sometimes moving slowly and with
solemn gravity, chanting the sacred hymn to Hu; at others, the devotees advanced
with great rapidity, using impassioned gestures, and saluting each other with secret
signs. This was termed "the mystical dance of the Druids." The circular movement
was intended to symbolize the motion of the earth, and to give an idea of God's
immensity which fills the universe. —"Signs and Symbols," Oliver.
THE RITE OF CIRCUMAMBULATION BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD, IOWA
By permission of Brother H.L. Haywood, Editor of the Library department of THE
BUILDER we print the following extract on the "Rite of Circumambulation" taken
from the manuscript of his forthcoming book on the "Interpretation of The Three
Degrees of Blue Lodge Masonry." Study meeting leaders should use this as a
supplemental paper at the meeting devoted to the study on "Circumambulation."
PRIMITIVE people, as we have been more than once reminded, firmly believed that
they could wield influence over a god by imitating his actions. They believed the sun
to be a god, or the visible embodiment of a god, who made a daily tour of the heavens
beginning in the East, and progressing toward the west by way of the south; it was
most natural, therefore, that they should evolve a ceremony in imitation of this.
Accordingly, in India, in Egypt, in Greece, and in Rome we early find the practice of
In Greece the priest, or the priest leading the worshippers, would walk three times
around the altar, always keeping it to the right, sprinkling it the while with meal and
holy water. The Romans employed a similar ceremony and called it "dextiovorsum,"
meaning "from the right to the left." Being so often used in connection with the rites
whereby a person or an object was "purified" Circumambulation became, after a time,
the Roman equivalent of Purification. Also "among the Hindoos," says Mackey, "the
same rite of Circumambulation has always been practiced," in illustration of which he
cites the early morning ceremonies of a Brahmin priest who first adores the sun then
walks towards the West by way of the South saying, "I follow the course of the sun."
Mackey likewise refers to the Druids as having performed the same rite, and to the
fact that even in recent years it was a living custom in the remoter portions of Ireland.
Some have seen in the circular row of stones at Stonehenge, a huge altar built for the
purposes of Circumambulation, and others have seen in the various processions of the
early Christian Church a revival of the same custom. It will be interesting, further, to
note that the Greeks accompanied the journey with a sacred chant, divided into three
parts, the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode, on which Mackey makes a
significant comment: "The analogy between the enchanting of an ode by the ancients
and the recitation of a passage of Scripture in the Masonic Circumambulation, will be
at once apparent."
What is the meaning of Circumambulation for us as Masons, and in our daily lives? In
answer to this we may offer a few typical interpretations including one of our own.
Circumambulation is sometimes understood, among older Masonic writers, especially,
as a symbol of the progress of Masonry itself, which, according to the old Legends,
was supposed to have originated in the East, in Egypt more particularly. This is hinted
at in one of the Old Charges in which we find the following scrap of dialogue: "When
did it (Masonry) begin? It did begin with the first men of the East."
Other writers, Pike among them, see in this symbolism a figure of the progress of the
civilization of humanity. Whether that civilization began in Egypt as some argue, or in
Babylonia as others contend, it did begin in the Orient and travelled thence, along the
Mediterranean, to the Occident, for, "all knowledge, all religion, and all arts and
sciences have travelled according to the course of the sun from east to west."
Again, some students see in Circumambulation a drama of the development of the
individual life, which begins in the young vigor of the Rising Sun, reaches its climax
in the meridian splendor of the south, and declines to the old age of the west.
Pierson sees in it an analogy of the individual's Masonic progress: "The Masonic
symbolism is, that the Circumambulation and the obstructions at the various points
refer to the labors and difficulties of the student in his progress from intellectual
darkness or ignorance to intellectual light or truth."
Yet again, others see in it an allegory of the pilgrimage of the soul through the
shadows of this earth life. We are born in darkness, and walk all our days in search of
that which is Lost, the lost harmony among the strings. Believing that somewhere
there exists the Absolute Life we make a continual search and transform our days into
a long Pilgrim's Progress.
These various inteipretations, you will have observed, have their point of departure,
one and all, in that the Circumambulation is a journey; with this we can not quarrel,
but may we not also be permitted to fashion an explanation which takes the fact that
the Candidate walks in harmony with the sun as its point of departure?
To my mind this is its point of greatest significance, even as it was evidently the
original idea embodied. Let the sun represent the powers and laws of Nature; let
Circumambulation be understood as an attempt to work in harmony with those powers
and laws, and we see at once that the rite gives us the secret of human
accomplishment. To fight Nature is suicide; to work in co-operation with her is
power. To keep step with her cycles, to move in sympathy with her vibration, that
gives us fullness of life. The sailor clasps hands with her winds, the farmer adjusts
himself to her chemic processes, the artist vibrates with the pulses of her beauty, the
poet rides upon her rhythms, the saint harmonizes himself with her laws as they rise in
the soul. It is thus and thus only that we mount the stairs to Eternal Life.
IS FREEMASONRY RELIGION? BY BRO JOSEPH BARNETT, CALIFORNIA
WHAT is Religion? Our familiarity with churches and their claims of religious
authority might lead us to identify Religion with some complex set of doctrines such
as distinguish religious sects. In fact, such sects emphatically and persistently teach
this. In speaking of different religions, Christian, Jewish, Mohammedan, Buddhist and
others, we evidently recognize that there is some fundamental similarity, if not a
common basis, among religious sects.
The word Religion, in the form religio, is as old as the language of ancient Rome. It is
derived from one out of two possible Latin root words— lego, I collect; or ligo, I
fasten. In each case, the central idea is that of Union. The prefix, re, is intensive. The
whole word Religion means a complete and mutual union.
From the special application of the word, it must mean an exceptionally important
union, the great union. Through all its history, it has plainly been intended to express
the idea of union between man and God, the highest and noblest claim for humanity
that man has ever conceived. Out of this has grown a secondary meaning, union
between man and man. These two factors have always been given by spiritual teachers
as the essentials of Religion.
It is interesting to note that these two factors have three co-ordinate relations: you,
united with God; your neighbor, united with God; you and your neighbor united
together. This is the emblematic Triangle, used as a symbol for Religion and the
philosophy connected therewith.
The basic principles of Religion, both natural and revealed, may be summed up, in the
order in which they appealed to mankind, as: 1 . Belief in the Supreme Being, Creator
and Ruler of the Universe; 2. The claim of direct human relationship with God, as
children of the Supreme Father; 3. Recognition of the spiritual element involved in
this relationship, leading to belief in the Immortality of the Soul; 4. The tenet that, as
each has within him a spark of the Divine fire, so each is especially worthy of
consideration, the one by the other, developing into Human Brotherhood.
Sectaries, while giving their chief attention to other things, may allow these
principles; Freemasonry is based on them, and painstakingly avoids anything sectarian
in its teachings, but does not discourage the individual from favoring special
doctrines. It modestly, but effectually, gives special attention to the principle of
Brotherly Love, the humblest and most neglected of the great principles of Religion,
and the very principle that all great teachers have specially emphasized. The whole
ritual, from the first procedure in the center of the Lodge, to the climax of the drama
and its immortal lesson, teaches the principles of Religion, and is intended to do so.
In Religion, hierarchies have claimed exclusive authority and that through them only
can Divine relationship be established; Freemasonry teaches that Divine relationship
is inherent in every human soul, that all progress is associated with such relationship,
and that every man has the natural right to progress. Hierarchies have trained priests
to govern churches, and through them to govern States; Freemasonry trains men to
govern themselves, to subdue natural selfishness and vainglory, and to regard all men
as brothers, equal in all human and Divine rights with themselves. Hierarchies assert
and magnify doctrines and dogmas peculiar to themselves, and call the complexity a
religion; Freemasonry teaches and practices and conserves the principles of Religion
Is Freemasonry Religion ? The question is already answered; not that it is a religion,
but that Freemasonry is Religion. And it is because Freemasonry is based on
principles that are common to all religious sects, principles that through all the ages
have been the foundation of the highest hopes of men, and that have an abiding place
in the hearts of all men, that our Institution appeals to all and is assured of
A GREETING TO THE MASTERS
Gauge and gavel and chisel,
Compass and square and plumb,
These have each wrought on ye, Masters,
These by the strict rule of thumb
All have had part in your making,
All have brought out the man,
These are your tools for your training,
May your powder not flash in the pan.
With the gauge measure up to the standard,
With the square prove each thing that ye do,
And compass and gavel and chisel,
With the plumb will keep ye all true.
To ye, Masters, much has been given,
From ye, Masters, much, much is due,
For ye may not sit on the side lines,
Lest your lives at the ending ye rue.
Where combat and action are thickest,
Where loudest are sounds of the strife,
There, Masters, your place is appointed,
Desert not while yet there is life.
Be the vows ye have taken your guerdon,
For light and for progress hold fast,
Let truth sit enshrined in your being,
And reward shall be yours at the last.
Threefold is the price of your freedom,
Threefold be the victory won:
Be ye men, not babes, O Masters,
Would ye gain the praise "Well done."
Gavel and chisel and gauge,
Compass and plumb and square—
What do ye say of them, Masters,
Have ye let them do their share ?
— Bro. James Alexander Robertson, Manila, P. I.
McKinley the mason
BY BRO. FREDERICK W. HART, 32d OHIO
Frederick William Hart, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Northeastern
Ohio, resides at Jewett, that state. He was educated at Gambier and at Delaware, Ohio;
and was for several years editor of a county newspaper; then a commercial printer,
and since 1904, in the ministry. Made a Mason at Danville, Ohio, in 1897. Is Past
Master of Chardon Lodge No. 93, and has been an active Knight Templar for several
years, and is a member of Scioto Consistory Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Thirty-
Second Degree. Bro. Hart has been much in demand as a St. John's Day speaker, and
is a student of Masonic history and philosophy, and a charter member of the National
Masonic Research Society. He is 43 years of age, and has a wife and five daughters. A
friend and admirer of the late President and Brother William McKinley. The portrait
cut is from a Masonic Festal program, of recent date.
THE State of Ohio has been lavish in building Memorials to the memory of
McKinley. No less than three splendid Memorials in his honor grace the Buckeye
landscape; a statue at Columbus, a stately tomb at Canton, and an equally stately
Memorial at Niles, the place of his birth.
MEMORIAL STATUE AT WEST GATE OF CAPITOL GROUNDS, COLUMBUS,
The first to be dedicated was the memorial statue at the West gate of the State capitol
grounds in Columbus, within a few yards of the spot where he twice took the oath of
office as Governor of Ohio, and addressed his fellow-citizens in the open air. This
statue, of heroic size, represents McKinley delivering his last address at the Pan-
American Exposition the day before his death, and surmounts a granite bench at the
ends of which are allegorical figures representing American ideas in typical form. The
one statue represents Physical Force and Human Energy in repose— the other shows
the Heart and Home Life that characterizes American ideals, and well represents and
pays tribute to the home-loving McKinley, the matron and maiden contrasting with
the stalwart man and the youth in the other group. There are selections from his
Buffalo address on the sides of the pedestal, and beneath the statue is the simple tale:
"William McKinley, President of the United States." The rear of the pedestal recounts
his birth and death, and says: "Erected by the State of Ohio and the Citizens of
Columbus, A. D. 1906." Half of the cost, amounting to a total of $50,000, was given
by the Columbus citizens, and the other half was appropriated by the General
Assembly of Ohio. Two of the quotations from his great Pan-American speech are
especially significant at this time, and we quote them:
"Let us ever remember that our interest is in concord, not conflict: and that our real
eminence rests in the victories of peace, not those of war."
"Our earnest prayer is that God will graciously vouchsafe prosperity, happiness and
peace to all our neighbors: and like blessings to all the peoples and all the powers of
The statue and allegorical groups are of bronze, and connected by a marble settee,
where one may sit and meditate, and the background is the beautifully kept capitol
grounds with the somber old State House brooding over all. The illustration shows
well the setting of this noble memorial to our brother; and the lifelike statue was the
work of the sculptor Herman A. McNeil. Mrs. Nicholas Longworth unveiled the
statue in the presence of 50,000 people, on Sept. 14th, 1906, and dedicatory addresses
were given by Supreme Judge W. R. Day of Ohio, and Senator John W. Daniel of
Virginia. And, facing the busy life of Columbus' busiest thorofare, few visitors to the
city fail to see and admire this dignified tribute to our Brother.
THE MEMORIAL AT CANTON
In Canton, where most of his life was spent, and where his domestic ties were
centered, and where he was a continual member and attendant upon the activities of
the Masonic bodies, it is to be expected that one would find a noble and fitting tribute
in stone, to Canton's distinguished son. In beautiful West Lawn Cemetery, where the
McKinleys had long owned a lot, and where was laid the sacred dust of their children,
long years ago, there was chosen a commanding eminence, overlooking the city, and
graced by the landscape gardener's art, to erect a stately mausoleum of enduring stone,
reached by great flights of steps, and beautified by the series of waterfalls that rise
beneath and before the steps, and finally disappear near the cemetery gates. The
setting of the McKinley National Monument at Canton adds materially to its beauty
and impressive character, and makes it an awe-inspiring sight to the visitor as he
approaches the four great flights of steps. Half way up the stairs is a statue of the
President, in bronze, located on a lofty pedestal— in fact the entire Memorial is lofty—
and grand in conception and in realization. One passes up the stairs reverently, and
pauses to read upon the pedestal of the statue these words:
"William McKinley, President of the United States: A Statesman singularly gifted to
unite the discordant forces of government and mould the divers puiposes of man
toward progressive and salutary action. A Magistrate whose poise of judgment was
tested and vindicated in a succession of national emergencies. Good Citizen. Brave
Soldier. Wise Executive. Helper and Leader of Men. Exemplar to his People of the
Virtues that build and conserve the State, Society and the Home."
The statue represents him in his familiar attitude of public speech, right hand in
pocket, manuscript loosely held in the left hand. A chair is just behind h m,
representing the Presidential Office.
The great dome-shaped structure at the top of the steps is fronted by a facade like a
triumphal arch— and is itself a plain massive structure, of pure white, but crowned
with an ornate golden "wreath," which symbolism immediately is understood by the
most casual beholder. Through vast metal doors one may pass in, with uncovered
head, and behold two marble sarcophagi, side by side in which repose the mortal
remains of William McKinley and those of Ida Saxton McKinley, his wife. Only the
briefest formal inscriptions are on the tomb; but their children are not forgotten by the
remembering chisel. It is a place of vaulted silence where one pauses and finally
passes out with slow footsteps, to be thrilled with the wide sweep of civic and arboreal
beauty that reaches in all directions. The People of the Nation built this— perhaps you
and I had a bit in it— and his Canton fellow-citizens had large part in the enterprise, for
was he not their McKinley, whose hand was in the city's growth and progress? And
one leaves the place with a new concept of the large place that the man had in the
hearts of his townsmen and his countrymen. Canton guards the ashes of our Brother,
and guards them well.
THE NILES MEMORIAL.
The latest Memorial to rise in white beauty is the National McKinley Birthplace
Memorial at Niles, Ohio; where, as is well-known, McKinley was bom, January 29,
1843. In Febmary of 1910 the Association bearing the above name, was born, at a
Board of Trade banquet, and the movement gained great impetus at once, and was
chartered by Congress March 4, 1911. To Mr. J.G. Butler, Jr., of Youngstown, is due
the conception of the idea— and the trustees of the Association embraced such men as
Milburn, at whose home McKinley died, Hon. M. T. Herrick, and others; and the
membership by contribution became nation-wide. On October 5, 1917, the Memorial
was dedicated with much ceremony and splendor, and the notable events of the
program were an address by ex-President Taft, and a great Oratorio, written for the
occasion by Mrs. M. E. Kelly, and sung by over two hundred voices— a tribute to the
"Triumph of Faith," as shown in the life of McKinley. His sister, Miss Helen
McKinley, unveiled the statue of her brother, and there were civic and military honors
paid. The Memorial stands in the central part of the industrial city of Niles, a white
structure of Greek architecture, wings radiating from a central open court in which
stands the statue. Before this classic statue, moulded by J. Massey Rhind, is a
beautiful fountain; and around the court are busts of the associates and cabinet of
President McKinley. There are Roosevelt, Taft, Hanna, Root, Hay and others, in
marble, like the central statue of the man himself. The statue is inscribed "William
McKinley, Soldier, Statesman, President." The wings of the structure are arranged in
rooms and contain an auditorium, library, relic rooms, and housing for other
activities— for this Memorial, unlike many, is to be a center of real patriotic activities,
and not a mere monument of silent stone.
It is an institution that can only be appreciated through a deliberate visit and study of
its treasures of art and history; and since its halls are dedicated to history and patriotic
progress, with a noted musician engaged to take charge of its musical work, and with
lofty plans for usefulness not yet altogether disclosed, the founders of this new sort of
Memorial challenge our interest, and we shall watch it grow and that expectantly. The
Memorial is endowed for up-keep, and its future permanence is already assured. This
Memorial cost one-half million dollars.
And thus, in the town that gave him birth, where his father was a pioneer in the iron
trade and active in civic matters, our Brother is highly honored with a great living,
pulsating, practical Memorial that shall bless and inspire for years and years to come.
The house in which he was born is also carefully preserved, but the site upon which it
stood in the forties is now occupied by a savings bank, and is appropriately marked
with a commemorative tablet. Like the other Memorials, no Masonic design or
reference is in evidence, but here at Niles, we are told, the Masonic relics of
McKinley will be kept, among others. And thus appropriately, at his birthplace, his
burial place, and the State capitol, there stand three worthy and beautiful mementos of
our Brother whose life was a splendid exemplification of what a Mason should be— for
McKinley was a serious and faithful exponent of the principles of the Craft. He was a
long time member of the Symbolic, Capitular and Chivalric bodies at Canton, and his
interest and devotion to the Fraternity remained continuous to the end of his life, and
his memory is by the Craft safely deposited in the repository of faithful breasts.
McKinley’s masonic history
While McKinley was a Major in the Union Army and located at (or near) Winchester,
Virginia, in May, 1865, he was visiting the Union hospital and found a state of affairs
that puzzled him— dirty, ragged Confederate soldiers, and privates at that, in the
officers' ward and receiving good care. McKinley demanded what that meant, and was
informed: "They are our Brother Masons." He at once expressed a desire to become a
Mason himself, and the petition was drawn up and presented, but the nearest Lodge of
Masons was in the Confederate lines, and thither the petition went. The members of
that Lodge waived such laws and regulation as might have prevented his acceptance;
his petition was favorably received and he was made a Mason in Hiram Lodge, No.
21, at Winchester, Va., in the spring of 1865. The Masonic record of McKinley stands
today on the records of that Lodge. Bro. J. W. Eggleston, P. G. M., of Richmond, Va.,
to whom we are indebted for most of these facts, says that in all, 32 Union soldiers
were made Masons in the same Lodge, during the progress of the War. After the War,
McKinley received the Chapter and Commandery degrees in Canton, Ohio, and the
writer has a copy of a half-tone picture of Sir Knight William McKinley in full
Templar uniform, his left hand resting upon the hilt of his sword. Repeated request
has failed to elicit from his few remaining relatives, or the Masons at Canton, any
information concerning the dates of his having received the various degrees, but the
dates are inconsequential; it is sufficient to know that Brother William McKinley was
a zealous and interested Mason, and maintained his connection with the various
bodies at Canton until his death.
There was something beautifully significant in the spirit that the Masons of the North
and South manifested during the Civil War, and this beautiful spirit was well reflected
in the case of McKinley. In the course of time, this man who was made a Mason
among the Confederates, and thus paid tribute to his belief that the principles of
Brotherhood were broader than political division, or internecine strife this man, then
President McKinley, in 1898, found a War upon his hands. He did the brotherly thing
then, for in the prosecution of that War he not only put ex-Union officers in
command, but ex-Confederates as well; and, to our mind, as he thus splendidly
healed, or ignored, the last sore-spot of sectionalism, he demonstrated the quality of
his conception of what Brotherhood means. The Spirit of Masonry helped, in this and
other cases, to close the breach between North and South, and will exert no little
healing influence when the World War is over. And Virginia "claims McKinley as a
Mason yet," they say genially. We can not forbear printing a delightful portion of a
letter from M. W. Brother Eggleston. He says:
"When McKinley died, I was Grand Junior Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Virginia
but the only line officer in Richmond. On the day of his funeral I called all the local
Lodges by newspaper advertisement, together with their families, to meet that evening
in the Masonic Temple. I had no sort of authority to do so, but was endorsed
afterward. I asked an aged P.G.M. to preside after I had opened the meeting. I had
secured good joint church choirs, and as they came in I asked five speakers to make
impromptu addresses. It was a great success as a memorial to the best-loved man and
Mason who had died in one hundred years." And he concludes, "You see we still
claim him as a Virginia Mason."
Such incidents and such spirit are the glory of the Institution, and prove how our
Brother William McKinley wielded his trowel and lavishly, wisely, splendidly spread
the cement of Brotherly Love. It was such a spirit, on both sides of "Mason and
Dixon's line" that obliterated that line and made us one Nation.
ORIGIN AND PURPOSE OP THE CITY COMPANIES
BY BRO. H. G. ROSEDALE, P. G. CHAPLAIN, ENGLAND
TWO STREAMS OF INFLUENCE
IT is these two streams of influence which have led to the use of the two different
spellings of the word "Gild," the simpler spelling being derived from the Teutonic
"gelden" or "gildan," meaning to pay or to contribute, in allusion to the common fund,
out of which doubtless payments to the King were made from time to time, whilst the
form "Guild" expresses the French or Latin meaning. Though holding strongly to the
view that our Gild life is more extensively Latin than Teutonic, we adopt the former
spelling merely from the fact that it is always found so written in the "Laws of
Athelstan" and in "Doomsday Book."
Soon after the "Conquest" all the conditions of English life were changed. Norman
methods were widely introduced and took the place of the earlier Saxon practices. In
spite of this temporary arrest, the Trade Gilds and Religious Gilds were very soon
hard at work reestablishing their influence in the country, and, as in Saxon times, it
once more became impossible for any craftsman to carry on his trade without the
permission of, and his submission to, the directions of a Trade Gild. Even the
merchants, or middle men, had to combine into similar organisations, the chief of
which is known as "The Gild Merchant."
In the Grocers' Company we see the product of such an organisation, for that
Company is the descendant of the "Gild Merchant," and, as is well known, that its
members are called "Grocers" only because they sold in gross. Alas! as in our own
days, the quarrel between the merchants and the craftsmen often assumed bitter
TIME OF RICHARD II
About the time of Richard II, Gild life had reached a high pitch of influence, and in
London it was certainly the dominating factor. In 1296 the Aldermen and Civic
authorities selected those who were to attend Parliament. In 1375 the Common
Council had for some considerable time nominated the representation of the City. As
the members of the Common Council were elected from and therefore representative
of the Trade Gilds, it is not surprising to note that from 1375 until the time of Edward
IV, the Parliamentary representatives of the City were appointed by a Committee of
the Trade Gilds. From that time forward, until the present day, all the members of the
City "Liveries" have had a voice in the election of those who are to represent them in
During the Wars of the Roses, as was natural, many of the Gilds suffered both from
the shrinkage in trade and also from the demands so constantly made upon them by
Sovereigns, who took every opportunity to enrich themselves by plundering these
The process usually adopted was to make some encroachment upon the privileges of
the Gild, thus compelling the Company either to defend itself vigorously - a very
difficult thing to do in those days— or to buy, generally at considerable expense,
temporary immunity from attack. This was done by taking out a new Charter, and of
course paying a very long price to the King for granting it.
Thus it will be seen that the dates of the various charters, of which members of City
Liveries have so often been proud, rarely mark the date of their origin or indicate
anything of their antiquity, but certainly in the case of such trades as were in existence
in Norman times, only marked a period of weakness and decline such as compelled
them to yield before the forces brought to bear upon them for mercenary reasons.
A GREAT REVIVAL A great revival in the Trade Gilds came about at the
Restoration, chiefly due, we presume, to the increased sense of order and government
which the short period of the Commonwealth had introduced. During the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries the Trade Gilds continued to live and flourish though they
were sorely tried by the loss of certain monopolies, and most of all by the growth of
what are known as the free towns, where goods might be sold irrespective of Gild
supervision and control, and consequently where the prices, as well as the methods of
production, were different from those of the Trade Gilds.
The impetus to commercial progress which the establishment of factories produced in
the nineteenth century effectually destroyed the machinery of the trade fraternities,
which gradually declined owing to their loss of power. To illustrate the wide scope of
early English Gilds, let us quote from an interesting account of the rules of one of the
oldest— if not the oldest of all City fraternities— dated the forty-seventh year of Queen
Elizabeth, but being practically a revised version of the orders dating back to the
thirty- third year of Henry VI.
Firstly, that the Wardens and Assistants of the Horners' Company are to appoint two
honest, fit, meet and sufficient persons to provide the raw materials for the various
tradesmen, and shall distribute them every month to the members in equal parts,
provided always that at every fourth division and allotment seven of the ancientest
men of the said Company that have borne the office of warden in the same, shall have
half one hundredth horns a piece out of the whole complement then to be divided
among any of the rest of the members, paying for the same, etc.
That no Freeman of the Company he at liberty to keep at one time more than one
apprentice, unless he has been a warden or free of the said Company for at least seven
years, in which case he might take two.
That any person who shall be made free of the Company shall serve as a journeyman
for the space of two whole years after receiving his freedom, and then— and not till
then— may he set up or keep shop for himself.
Also, that any brother of the said Company breaking any of the ordinances, or who
shall revile or abuse publicly or privately any Wardens or Assistants of the said
Company, with the consent of the Lord Mayor for the time being may be committed
by the wardens to one of the Compters of the City for such a time as their offense
EASIER THAN NOW
From all this it will appear that the process of becoming a member of one of the City
Gilds was easier, though a far more lengthy operation, than at the present time. As an
apprentice he was bound for seven years, and not until the expiration of that period
could he be made a Freeman of the Company, and even then it was necessary for him
to work as a journeyman for two years at least before he could be a master of his
trade, and so eligible for election to the "Livery" of his Company.
From the Livery were elected the Assistants, and from the Assistants the Wardens. So
much, then, for the organisation by which it was sought to protect each trade from the
difficulties of trade disputes, of unfair competition, and especially of lack of cohesion
in trade matters.
PROTECTION AGAINST BAD WORK
But there was another side, and a very important side, to Gild-life. In return for the
extensive powers vested in the Gild its rulers were expected in their turn to carry out
the very useful office of protecting the public against bad and "insufficient" work. We
quote from a document of the Bottle Makers' Company, a Gild which, after continuing
150 years under the aegis of the Homers' Company, finally became merged in that
Company. The document dates back to the time of Henry VII or Henry VIII, and is a
copy of the orders made for that Company in the year 1373.
It states that as some of the said craft make false bottles, as it appeareth by their
workmanships to the great damage of the Lords and Commons, and to the slander of
the same good folks . . . that every bottle maker from that time forward shall put his
sign on every bottle that it may be known whose work it is.
How severe were the punishments against bad work is a matter of common
knowledge. It was not at all an uncommon thing, on the discovery of bad work, for the
culprit to have the whole of his stock confiscated and himself to be either mulcted into
a fine or in some cases even to be publicly whipped in the presence of the Wardens
and Assistants of his Gild.
From the foregoing it will be apparent that the trade communities of London, and the
same applies in great measure to the other parts of England, were at once the
educators of the craftsmen and their rulers in all matters relating to the trade. They
were also the protectors not only of the trade secrets, but of the prices at which articles
might be sold, a protection which, as free towns grew and developed, ultimately led to
the decay of the very trade which the Gildsmen so ardently sought to protect.
MORALITY OF THE MEMBERS
Then, further, they watched over the morality of their members in the widest sense of
that word. Whilst avoiding the obvious danger of using labour without payment
through the unlimited employment of apprentices, they, alas! laid the foundations of
ruin to their own trades by failing to provide a sufficient supply of craftsmen. This
enabled those in the free towns who were not similarly bound and tied to produce
goods on so extensive a scale that the members of the Gilds found their trades
deteriorating to an enormous extent, except in the case of those whose wealth was
sufficient to secure practically the whole output of the raw material. The sad story of
the decay of the "allround'’ tradesmen, "the master of his trade," and his replacement
by the sectional workman, is ever present with us.
There are those and many of them who feel that a return to something in the nature of
Gild-life, modified, of course, by the demands both of science and increased
population, would prove the greatest boon to mankind. Unfortunately, the trade
unions, who themselves are in a sense the representatives of the spirit of the earlier
craft Gilds, have failed to recognise the importance both of thorough and expert
training for the young, and also of the value of moral rectitude in the performance of
all work for which payment is received.
It may be that a new life will arise amongst our craftsmen after the war, but in the
meantime our existing Gilds are beacons pointing the way to further progress, and
standing as they do for the productive forces, which has made the City of London the
greatest and wealthiest Coiporation in the world, they call for the recognition by
future generations of the principles for which the Gilds stood— the duty of insisting not
only on the rights and privileges of those engaged in the work, but particularly on the
responsibilities on the part of the workers and traders to those communities on whom
Once more, we cannot fail to note that underlying the wisdom and shrewd sanity
which characterised the commerce of the centuries gone by was an intimate
association between every Gild and the vitalising forces of Religion. This was
expressed in all their assemblies. It is to be deeply regretted that the trade
organisations of today have cut themselves off from the modifying and balancing
forces which Christianity ever brings to bear on civil movements. It may be that the
Church itself is to blame for a want of vision and foresight, and it is probable that, had
the clergy shown a happier and more tolerant sympathy for the aspirations of the great
masses of the people, the Labour Associations, like the old Board Schools, might not
have been so severely dissociated from the religious life of the nation.
FALLEN FROM GRACE
Our City Gilds have, in some instances, fallen from grace; that is to say, they have lost
sight of the fact that without a Chaplain the Gild is an incomplete and more or less
meaningless Coiporation. But the great bulk of the Gilds are still lighthouses amidst
the thundering waves of industrial strife which has been raging through the dark night
of mutual misunderstandings— misunderstandings largely, we now believe, stimulated
by German treachery, and so long as the Gilds, true to their puipose, continue to form
that wondrous link with the past, which speaks to us of the days when England was
"Merrie England" (because its national life and its industrial life cannot be separated
from its religious life), so long there will be hope of a return to happier times. To
forward this end all true Christians should throw their personal influence into the scale
to preserve in all their strength and beauty those glorious traditions which in so rich a
form England alone possesses, and which once destroyed can never be replaced.
London, England, will live so long as she has not lost faith in those truths for which
Gild-life has so successfully battled in the past.
— o —
ON THE RECOGNITION OF THE GRAND LODGE OF PANAMA
BY BROS. M. M. JOHNSON, P.G.M., AND W.H.L. ODELL, P.D.G.M., MASS.
In connection with this article the attention of our readers is called to Brother
Johnson's article "Masonry in Panama," in the November, 1917, issue of THE
BUILDER and the report of the Committee on Foreign Correspondence of the Grand
Lodge of Illinois concerning the recognition of the Grand Lodge of Panama, which
will be found on page 31 of the January, 1918, issue of THE BUILDER.
IT is unfortunate that the Grand Lodge of Illinois has been misled by the report of the
Brother who in 1917 was (but no longer is) its Committee on Correspondence, into
declining to recognize the Grand Lodge of Panama. The publicity given to this report
in your issue for January calls for an immediate reply lest other Grand Lodges adopt
the mistakes of this Committee.
The Committee recommends that the Grand Lodge of Panama be not recognized for
First, because its constituent Lodges were originally founded by Supreme Councils;
Second, because its constituent Lodges had charters from the Grand Lodge of
The second reason may be easily disposed of by the statement that it is incorrect.
None of the constituent bodies of the Grand Lodge of Panama have ever "resorted to
the expedient .... of procuring charters from the Grand Lodge of Venezuela." The
Brother has drawn an inference from the inmost recesses of his mind which does not
exist in fact. A number of the constituent Lodges of the Grand Lodge of Panama
originally received their charters from Venezuela but not from the body to which he
refers. On the contrary, they w-ere received from the Supreme Council which is
recognized by the Supreme Councils of the Northern and Southern Jurisdictions of the
United States as well as by others.
The first reason requires more extended discussion. Is it true that the Grand Lodges of
this country are to regard as outlaws Lodges of Symbolic Masonry which are founded
by legitimate Supreme Councils in countries where no recognized Symbolic Grand
Lodge exists? If it is, then the growth and development of Masonry in many of those
parts of the world where there are no legitimate Grand Lodges is forever stopped and
our claims to universality are a delusion and a snare. As we have understood the rule,
it is in brief to the effect that in countries where there is no Symbolic Grand Lodge but
where there is a legitimate and recognized Supreme Council, the members of their
Symbolic Lodges are accorded by us a welcome and the right hand of fellowship.
Though we have not recognized a Grand Lodge to which they are subordinate, yet,
nevertheless, we hold fraternal intercourse with them, admit them to our Lodges, visit
theirs, extend charity to their Brethren when necessary and our Brethren receive the
same from them. This is true entirely apart from the question whether Sovereign
Grand Lodges may regard such territory as open to them for the purpose of
It should be borne in mind that the Brother who composed the Committee on
Correspondence of the Grand Lodge of Illinois for 1917 has very strong views with
regard to all but the first three Degrees and if we may judge from his writings claims
that we have no business to recognize any such as Masonic.
If we are not to regard the Royal Arch Chapters, the Councils of R.&S.M., the
Commanderies of K.T. and the Scottish Rite from the Fourth to the Thirty third
inclusive as Masonic, then, of course, the position which he takes is correct, but we
supposed that this question had been forever settled during the decade of the 80's
when, after most elaborate consideration by the ablest Masons of the world, there
were written into very many of the Constitutions of the various Grand Lodges
provisions expressly recognizing the bodies mentioned as Masonic. This was done in
Massachusetts, for instance, after most exhaustive examination and report by a
Committee which was composed of Brethren, no one of whom had ever received any
of the Degrees of the Scottish Rite. If there be any serious question that this whole
matter has not been settled once and for all, then it should be again discussed and
Certain consequences, however, should be pointed out which will follow if the views
of this Committee on Correspondence for the Grand Lodge of Illinois are to govern
the Masonic world.
1 . The inconsistence thereof is shown, to begin with, by the fact that the Grand Lodge
of Illinois recognizes the Grand Lodge of Cuba. This Grand Lodge was organized
under the Grand Orient system. The charters of the Lodges which composed it upon
the adoption of its new Constitution in 1865 and of those who joined it for many years
thereafter had to be confirmed and vised by the Supreme Council. In its organization
it was not independent as our Grand Lodges are today. It was even less independent of
the Supreme Council than are the Lodges which compose the Grand Lodge of Panama
today, for at the organization of the Grand Lodge of Panama its constituent Lodges
became absolutely independent of any Supreme Council or Grand Orient in the world.
2. If we are not to accept the legitimacy of Lodges originally founded under the
Supreme Council or Grand Orient system, then the larger part of the territory of the
world will be without recognized Masonry from now on for there are in many
countries but a very few and in some countries no Lodges of Symbolic Masonry
constituted by Sovereign Grand Lodges, although there are many Symbolic Lodges
constituted by Supreme Councils.
In the following countries, for instance, substantially all the Masonry there is in the
first three Degrees is that established under Supreme Council or Grand Orient system,
namely: Central America (except Panama and Costa Rica), Argentine Republic,
Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ecuador, France,
Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Italy, Luxemburg, Paraguay, Servia, Spain, Turkey,
Uruguay and Venezuela. In all of these countries except Guatemala, Haiti and
Luxemburg there exist Supreme Councils recognized by the Supreme Councils of the
Northern and Southern Jurisdictions of the United States.
In South America, for instance, there are twentyfour Lodges under the obedience of
the Grand Lodge of England; seven under that of Scotland; three under that of
Massachusetts; and seven under that of the Grand Lodge of Hamburg. There are,
however, known to be at least seven hundred and sixteen Lodges organized under the
Grand Orient or Supreme Council system. The Grand Lodge of Brazil is believed to
have three hundred and ninety Lodges; of Venezuela, twenty-four; of Uruguay,
eighteen; of Paraguay, nine; of Parana, twelve; of Rio Grande do Sul, forty; of the
Argentine Republic, one hundred and thirty-five; of Chile, twenty-seven. We have
found these officially reported but we personally know of many more which are not
included in this computation. An extensive list would require a tremendous amount of
time in preparation and a large amount of space to print. We, therefore, ask those who
read this article to accept our word for this statement. As to those listed, we suggest
examination of the Jubilee number of the Bulletin issued by the International Bureau
for Masonic Affairs and of the various Supreme Council reports which may be found
on file in the libraries of most Grand Lodges.
Although here and there in these countries there are, as we have stated, a very few
Lodges established by foreign recognized Grand Lodges, yet the substantial Masonic
unity of the countries is under the Supreme Council or Grand Orient system and is
sufficiently important officially to be recognized as such by all the Supreme Councils
of the world. Where there is such strength, it is impossible to enter the territory
successfully with sufficient number of other Lodges founded by Sovereign Grand
Lodges to take possession of the Masonic field. Moreover, they cannot oust the
existing Symbolic Lodges whether they have charters from a Supreme Council or a
Grand Lodge. They would enter only as disturbers and would accomplish nothing.
We recognize fully that in all countries the Symbolic Lodges should be, and we
believe ultimately will be, self-governing but when the Grand Lodges in such
countries are established, if they are to be successful, they must have in each case as
constituent Lodges the substantial Masonic unity of the country including those
theretofore established by the Supreme Councils.
For brevity's sake, we do no more than suggest the fundamental principle believing
that the reasons therefor and the proper development thereof will be apparent to every
thoughtful mind conversant with the situation.
3. If the Illinois policy be adopted, then we are doing everything humanly possible to
crush out Masonry in many countries of the world instead of encouraging it. There are
Blue Lodge Masons holding allegiance to Supreme Councils who are as loyal to the
principles of our institution as are we ourselves. In most of the countries named they
are still struggling against intolerance, bigotry and persecution. Individually (and in
some places collectively) they are struggling for freedom of conscience and the right
which our fathers in the United States have guaranteed to us through our
Constitutions, to worship God as each conscience chooses for itself. Masonry would
be derelict in its duty and false to its principles if it did not give moral encouragement
to these great aims. Masonry should be ashamed of itself if it is going to hunt for
technicalities which shall prevent the development of its principles in those parts of
the world where much is yet to be done. We should seek the substance and not the
form where we find men who claim to be Masons, who adhere to the landmarks, who
are the right type and who have received their Degrees in bodies which are regarded
by the substantial unity of the Masonic world as Masonic. We should offer
encouragement instead of proscription. Shall we be false to our teachings and
traitorous to our principles by splitting hairs ? If so, we misunderstand the spirit of the
Masons in this country.
4. The Illinois rule, if generally followed, will only strengthen and perpetuate the
Grand Orient system. Where there has been the Supreme Council or Grand Orient
system governing Symbolic Lodges, there has almost inevitably resulted political
chaos. Brother Albert Pike's remedy for that was the establishment of the three first
degrees under an independent sovereign Grand Lodge composed of the existing
subordinate Lodges. And Brother Pike was right. We ought to encourage this in
Panama and elsewhere instead of forcing them to remain under a system which we do
not believe in. But if they are to be proscribed and outlawed when they adopt our
system of Masonic organization, then they will stay as they are.
— o —
BY BRO. JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, ENGLAND
THE COMACINE MASTERS
READERS of THE BUILDER will remember that some time ago, in one of our
announcements of articles to come, we promised a further study of the Comacine
Masters, by Brother W. Ravenscroft, of England. Owing to the exigencies of the war,
however, the article was not written, the author being called back to his business from
which he was retiring, because so many of his helpers were in the service. At last, and
not without real difficulty, he has finished his study, which will in due time be
presented to the Members of the Society through its journal.
In my little book, "The Builders," it will be remembered that I held, as I still hold, that
the order of the Comacines was the true link between modem and ancient Masonry, and
for several reasons: First, that the great Cathedrals were planned and built by the Craft
Masons described in our Old Charges, is to me a thing incredible. Second, we know
that those monuments of beauty and prayer were not devised by individual artists, but
by a Brotherhood and as such they are memorials of communities of workmen. Third, it
is no doubt true that Craft Masons - and even Gild Masons - were employed in their
constmction; but they must have had the leadership of an order of artists of a superior
Hence my contenion, following bearer Leader Scott and other students of the Comacine
Masters, that the great order so named were the real ancestors of Modem Masonry. So
Brother Ravenscroft held, with great ability, in his little book, "The Comacines, Their
Predecessors and Their Successors," published in 1910. After reading that little book, I
asked the author to give me for THE BUILDER the results of certain subsequent
researches he was known to have made in the same field. The result is the very fine
report now in hand, which, from first hand investigation on the ground as well as from a
comparative study of architecture, is a real addition to our knowledge.
Of course, being a Mason, the author can speak with more intimate knowledge than
could Leader Scott, who was not a Mason - albeit a brilliant and charming woman. The
studies of Brother Ravenscroft still further confirm my faith in the theory advanced in
my little book, as being the only intelligible explanation of the Cathedrals and of the
Fraternities that built them. Naturally, at the close of the cathedral-building period, the
Comacine order declined in influence and power, and slowly blended with Craft
Masonry; but its symbolism and its high tradition were perpetuated - in a shadowy and
imperfect form, it may be - until they passed over into speculative Masonry. Of the
facts in the case, our readers will have opportunity to judge as the article appears, and I
know they will be deeply grateful to Brother Ravenscroft for his service to the Craft.
* * *
It is interesting to leam from an article on "Freemasonry in 1917," in the London
Times, written by its Masonic editor - Brother Dudley Wright - that the Craft has
actually made greater strides during the three years and a half of war than during the
same period before the war broke out. Indeed the msh of candidates to its ranks has
been so great during the last year that the Grand Lodge of England deemed it wise to
limit the number of candidates who could be admitted to any degree at one time to two,
instead of five, as was previously the case. This has been so not only in England, but in
all Grand Jurisdictions in all lands, except in enemy lands, and of conditions there we
have little knowledge.
Perhaps the reason is to be found in the Brotherhood which Freemasonry offers, which
is peculiarly welcome to men in this time when so many ties are broken, and new ties
are needed. Not many new Lodges have been consecrated in England during the year; a
very few in fact, and those chiefly in connection with the various branches of the
national Service - as, for example, the Royal Anti-aircraft Lodge. Other new Lodges
worthy of special note are the Lratres Calami, mentioned in my last report, and the
Aldwych Club Lodge of journalists. The class Lodge, of which Americans know little -
and, in my opinion, should know nothing - is common in England, extending even to
Church Lodges; a thing which would be impossible in America. But of this matter I
shall have something to say at another time.
The war has brought into being a fourth Masonic Institution - the Lreemason's War
Hospital - in which the Grand Master has taken a keen interest, and the services of
which are in keeping with the noble spirit the Craft has shown all through this dark
time. Masonic festivities have been few. Ladies' nights have given place to
entertainments for wounded soldiers. The number of Brethren who have fallen in the
war is very great, and there can be few, if any, Lodges which do not have a Roll of
Honor. Everywhere the Shadow hovers, but it makes our Altar Light bum the more
brightly, as a foregleam of a time when the shadows will flee away and the morning
City Temple, London.
— o —
"WHAT IS MASONRY DOING IN THIS WAS AS A LRATERNITY?”
THUS tersely does a Brother from the Grand Jurisdiction of Washington state a
question which has been coming to our desk daily, in one form or another, for months
past. It cannot be answered in a word, or in a sentence. As a matter of fact, it must be
answered by each Mason for himself. For each of us has his viewpoint of what channels
of Masonic activity are legitimate, and because the answer is apologetic or enthusiastic
cannot in any sense be interpreted as an indictment of the good faith of the Brother who
gives it. Generally speaking, Masonic thinkers have always been divided into two
schools. First there were those who believed that Masonry was an institution, as we said
in our January issue, conceived and organized for the puipose of developing individual
character of the highest type among its membership, and opposed to the idea of
collective accomplishment such as is aimed at by the great majority of human
institutions. Secondly, there have been those who felt that Masonry should stand forth
as a star of the first magnitude in that great galaxy of Fraternities whose entire aim is
collective and unified accomplishment. Both have used the oft repeated quotation, "By
their fruits ye shall know them." In the one case the ideal would perhaps be best
represented by those plants which produce but a single flower, perfect in form and color
and fragrance - a strictly individualistic type. With the other group the ideal picture is of
the tree which on its every branch bears ripe and luscious fruit, presenting an example
of collective efficiency calculated to arouse the admiration and respect of the world at
Our answer to the question propounded by the above Brother will depend upon which
school of thought we champion. If we belong to the first school, we can truly answer
with enthusiasm that Masonry has been in the front ranks of the armies of the Nation.
Masons have volunteered their services by the thousands. They have accepted the
principle of the Draft as the true and fair method by which a Republic defends itself and
its principles. The members of our great Fraternity have devoted time and money
without stint in behalf of their Country's need, whether it be in campaigns for the Red
Cross, the Army Y.M.C.A., or the sale of Liberty Bonds and Thrift Stamps.
From this viewpoint, also, Masonry itself has met the challenge of the War for
Democracy within itself. Listen to these significant words from the Grand Lodge of
"Whereas, the Masonic Grand Bodies of France have, by proclamation and deed, given
fraternal Masonic welcome to our brothers now in France and have proffered to them,
in fullest measure, their Masonic hospitality;
"Whereas, We believe the time has come when Masonic brethren, children of one
Universal Father, in whom humanity are joined together in the Brotherhood of Man,
should sweep aside the verbal distinctions which separate them, and become united in
the bonds of the Mystic Tie, in order to accomplish the great work that will devolve
upon Freemasonry at the end of this World War, therefore -
"Resolved, by the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in the State of New York, That we give
fraternal response to the overtures made, or that may be made, by the Grand bodies of
Freemasonry in France looking to a full and complete restoration of Masonic unity on
the basis of the principles which are the foundation of all Freemasonry.
"Resolved, That during the period of the present war we shall extend to every member
of the Masonic fraternity under the obedience of the Grand bodies of Freemasons of
countries allied with us in the present war, cordial and fraternal welcome to the lodges
of our obedience in the State of New York and authorize fully such reciprocal
intercourse as may be mutually agreed upon between Freemasons and the Masonic
lodges of our obedience and the regular Masonic lodges and Freemasons of those
The Grand Lodge of California, under the leadership of that indefatigable worker,
Grand Master William Rhodes Hervey, has done a splendid work among its
membership, raising a substantial fund and helping each of the local lodges to carry out
effective plans for entertainment and service at each camp within the Jurisdiction. At its
recent annual communication it also passed the following significant resolution:
"Resolved, That a special committee of five members of this Grand Lodge be appointed
by the Grand Master to report at the next annual communication some plan whereby if
possible the breach between French and Anglo-Saxon Masonry may be healed without
sacrifice on either side of any essential principles or matters of conscience.
"And be it further resolved: That any inhibition upon the right of visitation heretofore
imposed by this Grand Lodge be, and the same hereby is, modified to allow Masonic
intercourse with the Masons in France, Belgium and Italy and to visit any of their
Similarly has the hand of fellowship been extended across the sea by the Grand Lodges
of Kentucky, Texas, Alabama and the District of Columbia, to our certain knowledge,
though their action is not uniform. If further evidence of a desire for accomplishment in
this hour of Allied struggle is needed, it may be found in the following Resolution,
passed by the meeting of Grand Masters held in Washington on December 13, 1917,
following the conference called by Secretary McAdoo:
"Resolved, That We, the Grand Masters of Masons of California, Utah, North Dakota,
Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, I,ouisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia,
Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, New York, Rhode Island, New
Hampshire, Connecticut and the District of Columbia, in conference assembled, in the
City of Washington on December 13, 1917, voting in our own proper persons and
through our accredited representatives, send these, our cordial and fraternal greetings to
our Beloved and Most Worshipful Brother Lurtin R. Ginn, Past Grand Master of
Masons of the District of Columbia, and through him to the Masons of France; and
commission him as our ambassador to express to them our very great regret that
conditions are such as to preclude some of our American Grand Lodges from holding
full Masonic intercourse with their Grand Bodies, and we frilly empower and urge him
to use all proper means within his power to bring about such changes as will permit the
closest affiliation and co-operation between the Masons of France and the Masons of
the United States.
"JAMES W. WITTEN,
Grand Master of Masons
of the District of Columbia,
Chairman of the Conference.
WALTER L. STOCKWELL,
Past Grand Master of Masons
of North Dakota,
Secretary of the Conference."
THE ACTION OF INDIVIDUAL GRAND LODGES
In a large proportion of the States wherein Cantonments are located (if not in all) the
Grand Masters have issued proclamations tending to insure the extension of Masonic
fellowship to the Masons training in them, and have set in motion agencies, usually
through the local lodges, to give to our Brethren of the Army and Navy every possible
evidence of the Fraternal Tie. Several have started, or have under way, buildings at or
near the Cantonments where Brethren may meet; facilities have been provided whereby
anxious parents may be put in touch with the boy who has gone to the colors; in some
cases free sleeping quarters have been provided in adjacent cities; existing Clubs have
freely tendered their facilities; a census of the Masons who are in their Country's service
has been taken, or is in process of completion. Many of the Grand Lodges have
recommended to their Brethren particular industry in keeping track of the families left
behind; lodges have arranged for special bulletin letters to be sent at regular intervals to
the boys at the front. And so it goes, the efficiency of each effort depending upon the
energy and inventiveness of the particular group.
The Grand Lodge of Illinois stands alone, so far as we are aware, in the formation of a
permanent Committee on National Defense with a strong and comprehensive State-
wide program of immediate and effective action as is indicated in the following letter
sent by Grand Master Scrogin to all of the lodges within his Jurisdiction:
THE MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND LODGE
OF A. F. & A. M.
Lexington, January 17, 1918.
To the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of all
Constituent Lodges, A. F. & A. M., of Illinois.
Pursuant to a recommendation of the Grand Master's Advisory Council, I have
appointed a committee on National Defense, consisting of the following brethren:
Ralph H. Wheeler, Chairman,
Arthur E. Wood,
Andrew L. Anderson,
Nelson N. Lampert,
William L. Shaip.
The purpose of this committee will be TO ASSIST OUR GOVERNMENT IN THIS
TIME OF NATIONAL PERIL, AND TO FUSE MASONRY OF ILLINOIS INTO A
MIGHTY AGENCY FOR PATRIOTIC ENDEAVOR. The officers and members of
the lodges are expected to co-operate with the committee in their work, which will
consist in the raising of funds, the relieving of distress among our soldiers and their
dependents, providing recreation or entertainment for soldiers in and about
concentration camps, particularly in Illinois, assisting in the sale of the various bonds
issued by the government, and likewise the war-saving certificates, conducting of
campaigns in the support of the Red Cross and Y.M.C.A. and in fact, in any and every
endeavor that will be of benefit in the prosecution of the present war to a successful
ft is the desire and hope of your Grand Master, as well as your committee, that all of the
Masonic lodges in Illinois, and also all Chapters, Councils, Commanderies,
Consistories, Shrines, Grottos, and Chapters of the Eastern Star, in the state, may
concentrate their efforts in this movement and by so doing accomplish the greatest
possible amount of good.
The moneys collected by this committee will be paid into the Treasury of the Grand
Lodge and will be disbursed by the Grand Master upon recommendation of the
National Defense Committee and Finance Committee of the Grand Lodge. This
committee expects to raise funds by the sale of memberships in what will be known as
the "NATIONAL DEFENSE FUND OF THE MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND
LODGE A.F. & A.M. OF ILLINOIS."
Further details will be submitted to you at a very early date and you are urged to give
very prompt and active response to all requests coming from this committee.
ft is hereby ordered that this letter be read in open lodge at the next stated meeting
following its receipt by the lodge, and that record be made in the minutes when it is
AUSTIN H. SCROGIN,
The Grand lodge of Minnesota also established a permanent Committee on Our
Nation's Welfare, but this Committee, so far as we know, is not empowered to build up
an organization for such activities as the Grand Lodge of Illinois proposes. The list
given is by no means comprehensive. Practically every Grand Lodge that has met
within the past six months has taken definite action of one kind or another, looking to
the fulfilment of its obligations to its Soldier Brethren as it sees them.
WHY NOT A PLAN OP UNITED ACTION?
In our January issue we presented the possibilities of united action upon the part of all
Grand Lodges, Rites and Branches of the Masonic Lratemity, hinting that there was a
need for the Mystic Tie among our Brethren of the Army and Navy. Only the
possibilities of such a plan were discussed, with a view to discovering what the
predominant sentiment of American Masonry might be, along those lines.
It has been the custom of the writer, at the Yuletide, to send, as a Christmas greeting to
his intimate friends, a little dissertation in the form of a letter, calculated to convey his
good will, and at the same time meet them upon the level of whatever discussion might
most closely approximate his own sentiments at the season. This year the arguments for
and against united action of Masons upon the question of Army Welfare work seemed
appropriate. Somewhere, somehow, the writer must have suggested that a plan of action
was slowly crystallizing itself in his mind, for immediately there came back a large
number of answers, asking for an outline of the form of co-ordination which might,
with proper rearrangement and modification, be expected to accomplish the results
Accepting the challenge these letters contained, we formulated the general scheme
which is set forth in the center of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin in this issue. This
in its turn has brought back many responses, all indicating that, while we may not be
agreed in doing anything at all, yet the subject is worth considering.
The responses thus far received seem to divide themselves naturally into three classes.
First are those who are against unified action because they do not believe it is
necessary, but feel that the activities contemplated in the outline would be duplications,
and more expensive in dollars than the results could possibly be expected to justify. But
we submit that it would not be a fair test of the need for organized and united effort to
base it upon the opinions of a few. And those opinions should be founded upon the
statements of our Brethren who are in the Army. If they say it is necessary, and will
produce results which no other agency now engaged in this work can produce, then we
should not ignore their actual knowledge.
Then there are those who are in sympathy with the idea of the movement, but believe
that we already have agencies established around which as a nucleus can be built up the
machinery of organization that we really need. If this can be established, well and good.
The writer is looking only to efficiency and unanimous, intelligent co-operation.
Finally there are those who are whole heartedly in favor of a new movement, who
believe that while there may be organizations whose activities, merged with an
organization genuinely representative of Masonry as a whole would materially add to
its efficiency, and would in some cases give us a personnel which would in itself insure
the success of the movement, yet feel that the keynote of the situation is unanimity, and
are willing to give of their time and their money and their energy to help in whatever
capacity they are needed.
Of the details of replies it may be interesting to quote briefly:
An eminent Brother in Canada writes:
"If one knew just how long this war was going to last one could probably in a better
way, pass judgment on this scheme. There is every indication of many months of
struggle yet it seems to me, so that doubtless there would be time to organize along the
lines that you suggest and do some really efficient work. At the same time, when there
is a crying need for everything that it is possible to do being done to make the soldier's
life as pleasant as it is possible, it might be a wiser thing to use organizations already in
existence, rather than attempt to start another one. I refer particularly to the Y.M.C.A.
All Protestants, at least, can rally to the support of that, and they can unite in supporting
it and helping carry on its work.
"Now, generally speaking, our population and yours is divided into two large classes -
the Protestants and the Roman Catholics. Do you think there would not be a possibility,
(if your scheme were carried into effect), that the Protestants' support would be divided,
and each sect or division considering their own importance, and their members would
think that it would be up to them to follow the Masonic lead. When you proposed this
idea, it struck me that it might have the effect, if that were done, of hindering rather
than helping, and on account of the pressing need of the times at present, I would be
inclined to say - give your endorsement and support to the organizations that are now
existent and leave this scheme of yours for dealing with after-the-war problems. They
will undoubtedly be many and will present the greatest challenge to Masonry that it has
"There is another feature of your proposed arrangement that in my opinion tends to
weaken rather than strengthen the organization. That is - the calling in of
representatives from all of the so-called Higher Branches of Masonry. I am a Scottish
Rite Mason myself and have nothing but good things to say with regard to that
organization. I have no doubt but just as good things can be said with regard to the other
organizations that you refer to. At the same time craft Masonry covers the whole field.
Your scheme would give a double representation and in some cases it would be a treble
and quadruple representation to certain sections who belong to these other
organizations. I believe that the other organizations, a large membership of them at
least, would rally around craft Masonry in a movement of this kind, and if it were
limited to the craft lodges I believe it would do away with any feeling of superiority that
might be in the minds of some belonging to those other organizations.
"The point that I am trying to make is this: You have unity in the one great
organization, why even hint at the fact that there might be divided opinions by calling in
any of those other bodies? Why should the members of those other bodies be entitled to
double representation as it were? They are all members of the craft lodges."
As to the well thought out criticism of the proposed plan in this letter, ye scribe can
only say that it represented his own opinion, up to ninety days or so ago. But actual
conversation with not less than half a hundred men from widely scattered portions of
the Country in the Army and Navy in that period has changed his mind. Only one
soldier Mason thus interviewed failed, in one way or another, to ask the question,
"What is Masonry going to do?" And only one gave it as his conviction that the
Y.M.C.A. organization and methods would even approximate the effectiveness of
Masonry if engaged in similar activities in behalf of its votaries. Wherefore ye scribe
believes that Masonry should ask its Army members what their opinion and desire is,
and be governed by what, after a careful canvass of the situation throughout the
Cantonments, the majority of enlisted Craftsmen shall report.
* * *
The Society of Actual Past Masters of Marion County, Indiana, adopted a resolution to
the effect that they "hereby express our sympathy with any and all efforts to co-ordinate
the full strength of regular Masonry in the United States in the interest of the Flag in
general, and specifically do we sympathize at this time with such efforts in the interest
of Master Masons who may now or hereafter be or become members of our National
Army and Navy."
* * *
Typical of the larger percentage of replies received is this from an energetic Brother
who believes that not only should Masonry be doing its work within American
boundaries, but that it should extend "hands across the sea" in a manner calculated to
promote world- fraternity in every possible Masonic phase. He says:
"Americans have been talking loudly about every man "doing his bit" before breakfast,
or before dinner, or for a few minutes at night. Perhaps we have been rather proud of
the fact that every man, woman and child seems to be doing something if it is only
saying 'hurrah for the Flag.' There has been a great deal of comfortable eating at food
conservation banquets and much flag waving and spilling of oratory in the cause of
patriotism and the boys we are sending to do the fighting. But we must not talk about
doing our bit, but 'doing our utmost.' Some of us are beginning to suspect that before
this war is over it will take every ounce of energy and every dollar to spare that the
country has. Instead of our bit, we must do our ALL, for this is the true way of
brotherhood. The ideal that we are now fighting for must not be extinguished from the
"Just this thing that has happened to the Nation has happened to American
Freemasonry. With smug self-congratulation we have told how we invested our money
where there was no chance of losing it, in Liberty Bonds. We really have given
something to the Red Cross, and done some wolk for it, and contributed to the
Y.M.C.A. A good number of eloquent speakers who are keeping the country stirred up
to remembrance of what we are really fighting for are Freemasons of considerable
practice on the Masonic platform. Beyond talking and a little money, what have we
done ? What can we do ? What should we do ?
"Ask the boys in the trenches. I have talked with officers and privates. They know what
they want. They are pleased and proud that we have done our bit. But really we owe
them everything we can do for them to the length of our cable tow, and who but
ourselves can say how that cable tow stretches ?
"It is a graceful thing that lodges have done in relieving members of paying dues while
they are in service, as some have done, or sending Christmas gifts and keeping in touch
with them by writing letters. All of the small things that have been done by individuals
to give them a touch of home have been done, but the big thing that our soldier Masons
want, that they have told me about, is to have a chance to meet their brothers as Masons
in lodges abroad as they do here, to be able to grasp the hand of every Mason and call
him Brother, feeling sure that there is that sympathy which cannot be felt elsewhere."
Wherefore it would seem that, no matter which of the two general schools of Masonic
thought best suits us, we have a very real problem before us for solution. If our analysis
of what so many Army Brethren have said is correct, then Masonry should immediately
study this problem. As this is written, announcement comes that the Rockefeller
Foundation is to engage in welfare work in the Armies, and has made a large
appropriation for the puipose. What its particular scope is is not so important as the fact
that trained experts have found something to do which is necessary. No one agency can
hope or expect to minister to every need. Our inquiry should be "What are the needs
from the Masonic standpoint ?"
In formulating a business policy, or in analyzing a financial statement to see what the
results of any given policy are, "the biggest fool is the man who fools himself." At best,
human foresight cannot visualize all that the future has in store. Wherefore ye scribe
has been ruthless in presenting more of criticism than of commendation in these
summaries. Whatever is done, we need the combined wisdom of our Fraternity to plan,
to develop, to execute. But let us not fear to get together, to discuss our fraternal duties,
"The man who cannot think is less than man;
The man who will not think is traitor to himself;
The man who fears to think is superstition's slave."
Summarizing our reply to our member's query, then, we can only say that, though
Masonry has accomplished much, both as an organization and through its individual
membership, it has only done its "bit." There are many who feel, and, frankly, ye scribe
is one of that number, that, far from "doing our all," we have not yet even visualized our
real obligation. We must think this thing through as a Fraternity, we must act as a
Fraternity, if at all. Recognition of our ability to provide a world- wide basis of co-
operation must come from within. It is ours to discuss, not in any spirit of self-
adulation; but if the challenge to our efficiency is as real as it appears to the writer, then
the future influence of Brotherhood is at stake from within as well as from without. -
EDITED BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD
(The object of this Department is to acquaint our readers with time-tried Masonic books
not always familiar; with the best Masonic literature now being published; and with
such non-Masonic books as may especially appeal to Masons. The Library Editor will
be very glad to render any possible assistance to studious individuals or to study clubs
and lodges, either through this Department or by personal correspondence; if you wish
to leam something concerning any book - what is its nature, what is its value, or how it
may be obtained - be free to ask him. If you have read a book which you think is worth
a review write us about it; if you desire to purchase a book - any book - we will help
you get it, with no charge for the service. Make this your Department of Literary
IT is well for the writer that his duties in the present connection make no demand upon
him to criticize the "Collected Essays and Papers Relating to Freemasonry" by Robert
Freke Gould; it is doubtful if there live a dozen men with either the temerity or the
equipment to wrestle with this savant, so magisterial is his authority, so profound and
spacious is his learning. Already he has become a classic in Masonic scholarship and
long will the day be postponed when, on either side the sea, it can be said, "A greater
than Gould is among us." No, the purpose of this slender screed is to serve as a kind of
amplified table of contents to the work above named, but this function, modest as it is,
is one wherein a student may take delight, for the better known are these essays the
better it is for the Craft.
A few of the papers collected in this book were first published in English Masonic
journals but most of them appeared primarily as contributions to the Quatuor Coronati
Lodge of Research, and, save for the Transactions of that Lodge, which may still be had
by those with enough interest and money, the book offers us the best specimen of the
enduring value of the Coronati papers of anything extant.
The first two essays deal with the many problems clustering about the old manuscript
constitutions, a collection of which were made by W. J. Hughan. Being the oldest of all
written records of Lreemasonry these "Old Charges" - as they are often called - are of
unique interest to the Masonic student. Volumes without number have been written
about them by specialists in many countries but the busy reader will find everything in
Gould's two essays that have any value.
Next after these there follows an essay on The Assembly. Some writers have held that
long before the first Grand Lodge, Masons were accustomed to meet at long intervals in
a great gathering wherein all matters appertaining to the Craft at large were discussed
and acted upon. Gould believes that there may have been Assemblies of all gilds at
various times and places but he is in doubt about any Masonic Assembly.
Thereafter the author turns to a discussion of "Old Scotch Masonic Customs" with the
purpose of ascertaining what bearing Scotch Masonry had upon English; his conclusion
is that the English was the original and owes little to the Scotch and he tears to pieces
most of the tales of the rise of the "higher grades" in Scotland.
In a brief paper he throws together all the actual evidence which throws light on the
evolution of the fraternity in England itself; it would be a good thing if all flamboyant
writers on our history, bent on stretching every inch of fact into a mile of theory, were
made to learn this essay by heart. Of all writers Gould is least given to mere theorizing,
even as he is least given to dogmatizing, and the reading of his few pages on the above
theme has a sobering effect on every man who sets himself to unraveling the fascinating
but tangled skeins of our historical traditions.
In the "Antiquity of Masonic Symbolism" Gould gives us his version of the history of
those elements whereof our ritual is made, while in his "Voice of the Sign" he has
gathered together a mass of material which throws light on the manner in which men
everywhere have made use of symbolism. He holds that a study of our history and our
symbolism "must be proceeded with conjointly" because the latter has so often arisen
from the former, and he believes that many of our most important symbols have come
down to us from very ancient sources. As an architect will sometimes build into his
walls stones taken from another building long in ruins so has the Masonic institution
made use of symbols originally a part of a more ancient institution; this antiquity gives
them more, not less, value.
In his essay on the question, "Whence came the name 'Free' Masonry," he holds that
even yet, in spite of the many learned attempts to explain the matter, we have no secure
answer, and he offers the problem as a tough object on which future Masonic scholars
may try their skill.
Perhaps the most famous of all the essays included in the collection is the study of the
"Degrees Problem." How many degrees were there before 1717? one or two? whence
came the Third? Crawley, Speth, Hughan, Begemann, and many other giants of
research have wrestled with this. Gould takes the position that Speth was right in
contending for two degrees, but he holds that the substance of all three were in
existence long anterior to the first Grand Lodge.
The "Holy Royal Arch" comes in for a royal study, as do other matters about which
there is not space to write. Perhaps THE BUILDER may be justified in calling especial
attention to the two or three brief papers on "The Masonic Press." Gould holds that the
function of the press is not to serve out raw amateur theories of its own but to pass on to
the rank and file of the Craft the results arrived at by the specialists. The closing
sentences of these essays might fittingly be inscribed above the lintels of the "House of
Light" wherein the present journal is edited, for they express to a nicety that which it is
the hope of THE BUILDER to do:
"The extent to which the history of our own Craft has been critically and intelligibly
dealt with by writers of the present generation, is a question on which, for obvious
reasons, I should hesitate to pronounce any judgment at all. But wherever they have
failed to bring down to the level of the ordinary mind the bearings of the latest
discoveries, let us hope that what Proctor did for Astronomy, what Huxley and Wallace
achieved for Natural History, what Tyndall accomplished for Physics in this country,
and Helmholtz in Germany, may be done for Masonry by the organized labors of the
THE QUESTION BOX
(The Builder is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors
writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a
unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does
not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another; but offers to
all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its
NAMES OF CANDIDATES IN LODGE NOTICES
The above caption in the Question Box for January brings up a much discussed subject
in the Lodge of which I am the Secretary. I publish monthly a bulletin of coming
meetings and have been asked repeatedly to put in it the names of candidates for ballot
and degrees. This I have as repeatedly refused to do.
John Smith, a much respected young man in his community, petitions the Masonic
Lodge for membership. The Lodge receives the petition and the Secretary sends each
member a notice, (sealed, if you will,) that John Smith will be balloted for on such and
such a night. Mr. Thotless Mason receives the notice, looks it over and lays it down on
his desk. Mr. Nozie Mann, not a Mason, drops in on business and in the course of
conversation spies the notice and learns that John Smith has petitioned the Masonic
Lodge. In due time, John Smith is balloted for and is rejected. Later, Mr. Nozie Mann
meets Mr. Smith and casually asks if he is a Mason.
The secrecy of the ballot has been lost. The Secretary and the thoughtless member have
both violated their obligations and put the rejected candidate in a most embarrassing
Perhaps the imaginary circumstances are improbable - even so, they are not impossible,
and Masonic law does not caution us against improbabilities. Connecticut law
(Lockwood) says: "The rejection of a candidate shall not be made known to the
uninitiated other than the candidate so rejected."
From your wider viewpoint, is the stand taken justified?
Your argument is a very good one, Brother S., for your side of the question. In many
Grand jurisdictions the practice is prohibited by Code, while it is authorized in others.
We shall be glad to publish what our other members have to say on the subject. Perhaps
some brother of a jurisdiction wherein the practice prevails may be able to give us some
good reasons why the names of prospective candidates should be published in Lodge
notices other than that given by Brother L. J. in the January BUILDER.
* * *
ENGLISH LODGES IN FRANCE
Have you any information concerning English Lodges now Operating in France? I
presume they would be Army Lodges. If there are any Lodges of the sort, would they
be recognized by Grand Lodges in this country ? This question was recently disputed in
our Lodge and any information you may give will be a very great favor indeed. -
We find record of three travelling Military Lodges under jurisdiction of the Grand
Lodge of England. One of these, the "Unity, Peace and Concord, No. 316," is with the
Second Battalion of Royal Scots. Another, "Social Friendship, No. 497," is with the
Second Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers. The military unit with which the third,
"Pegasus, No. 2205," is connected, is not given.
It is very probable that ah of these Military Lodges are now at the front "Somewhere in
France." As each of these Lodges is working under a charter from the Grand Lodge of
England, they are certainly recognized by ah the Grand Lodges of the United States.
* * *
What is the status of Masonry in Germany today?
We presume the information desired is concerning the numerical strength of the
Masonic Bodies in Germany. The following figures are taken from the List of the
Masonic Grand Lodges of the World published by the Masonic Relief Association of
the United States and Canada: Grand Countries Lodge of Saxony at Dresden.
Lodges, 34; Members, 5,001.
Recognized before the war by Ga., Mich., Mo., N.J., N.Y. Grand Lodge of the Sun at
Lodges, 37; Members, 3,536.
Recognized before the war by Mich., Mo., N.J., N.Y. Grand Countries Lodge of the
Freemasons of Germany at Berlin.
Lodges, 141; Members, 15,373.
Recognized before the war by Ga., Mo., N.J., N.Y. Grand Lodge "Zur Eintracht" at
Lodges, 8; Members, 727.
Recognized before the war by Colo., Mo., N.J., N.Y.
Grand National Mother Lodge of the "Three Globes" at Berlin.
Lodges, 160; Members, 16,894.
Recognized before the war by D.C., Ga., Mich., Mo., N.J., N.Y.
Grand Mother-Lodge of the Eclectic Masonic Union at Frankfort on the Main.
Lodges, 23; Members, 3,496.
Recognized before the war by Mich., Mo., N.J., N.Y.
Grand Lodge of Prussia, called "Royal York of the Friendship" at Berlin.
Lodges, 78; Members, 7,936.
Recognized before the war by Mo., N.J., N.Y. Grand Lodge of Hamburg.
Lodges, 61; Members, 6,372.
Recognized before the war by Mich., N.J., N.Y., S.D., Vt. Free Union of the five
independent Lodges of Germany.
Lodges, 6; Members, 1,433.
Not recognized by any American Grand Lodges.
Our opinion of German Masonry and German Masons of the present day is best
expressed by Brother Newton in his article "Voices From German Masonry" in the
Library Department of THE BUILDER, volume III, page 187.
* * *
LODGE OF THE NINE MUSES
Can you give me any information regarding the "Lodge of Nine Sisters"? - C.P.L.,
Strict search throughout the several apartments of "The House of Light" fail to unearth
any reference to a "Lodge of the Nine Sisters." Presumably it is the "Lodge of the Nine
Muses" that you have in mind. Of this Lodge we are able at this time to find only the
"May 4th, 1775, Bro. Karsakoff 'of the Lodge of the Muses at Petersburgh in Russia'
was present as visitor. A Russian had been initiated in the Lodge on February 23rd and
another was passed on this occasion. (The Lodge referred to must be the 'Lodge of the
Nine Muses,' No. 466, which was warranted in 1774 by Senator Yelaguin, who had
received a patent from the Duke of Beaufort, G. M., as Prov. G. Master for all the
Russias. In 1776 it joined the National Grand Lodge of Russia, but was not erased from
the English Register until 1813. Gould and Lane.)" - From the paper "Two Old Oxford
Lodges," by Bro. E. L. Hawkins, in Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, vol.
In the article "Freemasons in the American Revolution" by Brother Lobingier, in this
issue, Brother Benjamin Franklin is mentioned as being a frequent visitor at the "Lodge
of the Nine Muses" in Paris.
Perhaps some of our members may be able to give us more information concerning this
Lodge or the several Lodges of this name.
* * *
MASONIC HEADQUARTERS IN PARIS
We are sending out a semi-monthly letter to our soldier-brethren. Can you give me any
information that will be of value to them when they go over-seas? Where, if any, are the
Masonic headquarters (soldier-clubs) in London and Paris? I will thank you if you can
give me any information along these lines. - M.L.D., Indiana.
We can find no information concerning such headquarters being maintained in London
but have written an English brother to leam if any such headquarters have been
The Masonic Bureau for the Allied Armies in France, 16 Rue Cadet, Paris, has
requested the publication of the following letter, addressed to the Freemasons of the
"The world-wide conflict for the liberation of oppressed nations, and for the triumph of
the principles of Justice and Liberty in which a good many Allied countries now take an
effective part, has assembled on French soil most of the glorious armies fighting for
right, who are now to be joined by an imposing contingent of your noble country.
"In the first ranks of these gallant troops, their arm strengthened by their ideal, we are
sure to find, more numerous every day, Freemasons of the United States of America,
and we have thought of offering them as soon as they arrive in the French capital, a
warm, fraternal welcome, becoming among brother Masons.
"Under the auspices of the Grand Orient of France our worshipful Lodge, 'La Fratemite
des Peuples,' has formed a reception committee for Masons belonging to Allied
countries with its seat at the Temple of the Grand Orient, 16 Rue Cadet, a real Masonic
home. Here our brethren will always find devoted Masons, speaking their language,
ready to answer all inquiries and furnish any useful information they may require to
assure them a fraternal help in all circumstances, to keep in touch by corresponding
with them, to visit them in case they are ill or wounded, to serve as intermediary
between them and their relatives, etc.
"The usefulness of this central bureau will at once be apparent to you, not only for our
brethren who are in the army, but also to those near and dear to them and who in their
thoughts will follow them across the Atlantic and who will know that they are not left
to themselves and abandoned among the dangers of everyday life, but that a fraternal
and helping hand is always extended to them in case of need.
"We therefore ask you to kindly inform the brethren of your worshipful Lodge and their
relatives that in applying to us they will always find us ready to be of use to them and
happy to render them any service within the measure of our means and capabilities.
"Please communicate this letter to the Lodges under the jurisdiction of your Grand
"We are, worshipful sir and brethren, yours most fraternally and sincerely, for and on
behalf of the
"MASONIC BUREAU FOR ALLIED ARMIES IN FRANCE.
"P. S. Please address your correspondence to the W. M., A. Besnard, F. D. P., 16 Rue
Cadet. Paris (9)."
ALABAMA GRAND LODGE GRANTS PERMISSION TO
ALABAMA MASONS TO VISIT LODGES OF THE
GRAND ORIENT AND GRAND LODGE
I send you copy of a report submitted by me at the last meeting of our Grand Lodge,
touching the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient of France. The report was unanimously
adopted by our Grand Lodge. O. D. Street, Alabama.
To the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Alabama, A.F. and A.M.:
Your committee of Foreign Correspondence has had referred to it a communication
from the Grand Lodge of France extending an invitation to this Grand Lodge to enter
into fraternal relations with it and to arrange for an exchange of representatives. It is
proper to state that this is not the recently formed so-called "National Independent and
Regular Grand Lodge for France and the French Colonies" to which we refused
recognition one year ago, but a Grand Body organized in 1879 under the auspices of the
Supreme Council 33d, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. In 1904 it, however,
became entirely mdependent of the Supreme Council and now controls the three
symbolic degrees. The claims of this Grand Body to recognition have never been fully
considered by the Grand Lodge of Alabama. The nearest approach to such
consideration was in 1912 when the Grand Master answered an inquiry from New
Mexico that we did not recognize the Grand Lodge of France because it did not require
the Bible to be displayed in its lodges. This action of the Grand Master was approved
by the Grand Lodge.
Your committee has also received a communication from the Grand Orient of France, a
separate and distinct body from either of those already mentioned, which controls many
degrees including the first three. In 1878, this body was carefully considered by the
Grand Lodge of Alabama and fraternal relations with it were severed, because it had in
1877 eliminated all reference to Deity from its constitution and ritual and no longer
required of its initiates a declaration of belief in Deity.
During the recent months, circumstances have given renewed importance to the subject
of the relations between the Masonic bodies of France and those of the United States.
Thousands of American Masons, including many from Alabama, find themselves in
France and companions in arms with French Masons. It is not at all certain that there
will be among them lodges chartered by their own Grand Lodges wherein they may
enjoy the pleasures of Masonic intercourse and labor. But whether there are or not, it is
highly desirable that there should be, during the war, the fullest possible measure of
social and fraternal intercourse between American Masons and those of France, not
only that nothing may arise to disturb the harmony already existing but that the people
of these two great republics and traditional friends may be knit together even more
closely than ever.
At the same time, your Committee is not possessed of sufficient information to make a
recommendation at this time as to what should be the permanent attitude of the Grand
Lodge of Alabama towards these two Grand Bodies. Without deciding this question the
Grand Lodge of California, Kentucky and New York have recently taken action
authorizing Masons of their obediences to visit lodges of the Grand Lodge and Grand
Orient of France and to hold Masonic intercourse with their members, pending further
consideration as to what shall be their final action. This appears to us as a cautious and
at the same time fraternal course and we have decided to recommend that this Grand
Lodge take similar action. It can certainly do no harm and will afford an opportunity for
us to leam more of French Masonry than we have heretofore known.
We therefore recommend the adoption of the following:
1 . Resolved, by the Grand Lodge of Alabama, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, that
Masons holding membership in its lodges are, until otherwise ordered, privileged to
visit lodges of the Grand Lodge and of the Grand Orient of France and to hold Masonic
intercourse with their members. And lodges holding under this Grand Lodge are
authorized to admit visitors from said Grand Bodies of France.
2. Resolved, that the Committee on Foreign Correspondence gather all obtainable
information and report to the next Annual Communication of this Grand Lodge its
recommendation as to what should be the attitude of this Grand Lodge towards those
Grand Bodies. OLIVER D. STREET,
Chairman Foreign Correspondence Committee.
Unanimously adopted December 6, 1917.
* * *
EXAMINATION OF VISITORS
Freemasonry lays claim to being an organization universal in its recognition and
brotherly in its fellowship, therefore the implication naturally follows that an utter
stranger from another part of the state or country would be admitted to any Lodge as a
visitor, provided, of course, he could demonstrate the fact that he had been regularly
initiated, passed and raised to a Master Mason, was in good standing as evidenced by
his card and diploma to the satisfaction of the examination committee, that being the
agency by which the Lodge carries on negotiation with a visitor.
The committee is in a position of great responsibility, in view of the fact that it may
reject a worthy brother and admit a rank impostor, and for this reason the committee
should exercise the greatest of care for the position carries with it a great honor.
Personally, I have had the honor of serving on such a committee on different occasions
and my position and actions can be summed up in the following words:
1 . Remember that you are either dealing with a Mason or an impostor.
2. Be courteous and considerate, yet firm at all times.
3. Under no circumstances get funny or joky; be manly and apright.
4. Don't use too much authority or be unnecessarily strict; ideas are sometimes of more
real worth than words, and some mighty good Masons have very short memories.
5. Give no hints or suggestions and do not attempt to correct any mistakes.
6. Let him tell his story in his own way and accept what he offers.
7. Give no reason for rejecting him if you should do so.
8. Be governed by his action and words as they form the general results.
9. Some real Masons may answer your questions in a way that you deem poorly.
10. The man that appears too bright and answers all questions too glibly may arouse
1 1 . As I take it, it is the committee's business to obtain evidence, the visitor to impart it.
12. Sometimes documentary evidence is not altogether to be relied upon. Have known a
rank impostor to have in his possession Masonic evidence that did not belong to him
whereby he deceived an excellent and prudent committee, besides, documentary
evidence is not required in some jurisdictions while it is in others.
13. To be able to answer all questions may not prove a visitor worthy, as has been
demonstrated more than once, but if the committee will use good judgment and watch
the visitor closely as to his general expression and manner of answering questions, it
ought to be able to determine pretty accurately the worthiness of the visitor after having
gone through with a reasonable number of test questions, and at the same time used him
in such a way as to let him know that you are protecting Masonry and according him his
There seems to be no general set rules laid down as to how the visitor is to be examined
or as to what questions are to be asked; some jurisdictions move along one line and
another proceeds altogether in a different manner, and some questions asked in one
jurisdiction would be considered absolute "tommyrot" in another, and as I said before,
there being no set rules for examining a visitor, the best way, in my judgment, is to use
good common sense, and treat the visitor as you would like to be treated. Take this for
what it is worth: I am only giving you my ideas and the way I have acted when called
Robert A. Turner. Washington.
THE LESSER LIGHTS
In the ancient rituals the three lesser lights were the Sun, Moon and Mercury, which
may prove of some interest in contemplating the attributes of the Master.
Mercury was synonymous with Hermes or Thoth, the Egyptian mythological being to
whom is ascribed the invention of the art of writing, and who presided over the true
science concerning the gods. He was worshiped as the god of wisdom, and to him is
credited the formation of the Egyptian year.
He is said to have inscribed his knowledge upon two columns, one of brick and the
other of stone. The one of stone, Josephus says, was still to be seen in his day in the
Manetho, a priest of the era of the first Ptolemy, declared that he had seen it, and that it
was engraved in sacred characters, which after the Deluge were translated into the
language of the priests.
In another place he is said to have recorded his wisdom on an emerald tablet,
embodying therein the great work of regeneration, or the science of the return of the
soul to the Father. Hence his attributes are those of a "Master."
These curious conceits are scattered through history and literature, and true students of
the Mysteries are commended to read Morals and Dogma, and more particularly pages
7, 254-255, 362-364, 614, 731, 774-776, 851. This is not nonsense, but bears pondering
and deep thought. It is the wisdom of a man to search out a matter. - Rob Morris
Keep possession of your soul. One is always a loser at the game which robs his soul of
serenity.... - Peter du Moulin.